Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Thal (Palmyra) and kithul or tail palm varities are popular trees among the rural community in Sri Lanka. This trees is botanically recognized as Caryota urens which belongs to the Palmae family. Under favourable conditions, the both trees can cultivate to a height of 40 - 50 feet and a circumference of 4-6 feet. The circumference of the lower part of some trees is less than that of the middle part which is not common among the other tree species. 

The rural people find a number of economically vital products from the Thal palm. Flour from the Thal palm derived from Sri Lanka’s dry zone has been an elixir that has been known and used for a healthy life for centuries. This flour can be kept for a long time. The flour is used for different preparations. "Thal thalapa" is one such preparation. In addition thal fruit is also used for jam production and cordial production. 

The kithul flour is in the pith of the trunk. In the extraction process of flour, first a kithul tree is cut down. Then, the pieces of pith are removed from the trunk. After that, the pith is cut into small pieces and powdered using the mortar and pestle. Next, a pot is filled with water and a clean cloth is tied to its mouth. Then the crushed pith is mixed with water and allowed to strain through the cloth to the pot. After sometime, the flour settles down in the pot. It is sun dried to make Kithul flour. This flour can be kept for a long time. The flour is used for different preparations. "Kithul thalapa" is one such preparation.

Both kithul and Thal can be used to produce toddy, treacle and vinegar.


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