What Is Sago?


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Steve Theunissen Profile
Sago is a food made from the pith in the trunk of the sago palms, which grow abundantly in the swamplands here in the Gulf District of Papua New Guinea. The tree attains a height of up to thirty feet in about fifteen years. The trunk is very thick, and just before reaching maturity it becomes gorged with starch. It is then that the palm is felled and the wooden shell stripped off, which is about an inch thick, exposing the soft starchy pith. This pith is grated into a meal. The meal then must be washed several times, and strained. The starch passes through the strainer, while the stringy fibres are discarded. Some palms may yield from 250 to 300 pounds. However, if you wait too long before cutting down the tree, all of the starchy core material passes into the developing fruit and leaves the trunk a hollow shell, which then dies.

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