Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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nata a tough, jelly-like dessert made from coconut or pineapple trimmings, popular in parts of C. and S. America.

It is not a gelatin or pectin jelly, but is composed largely of cellulose, which is deposited by acetic acid-producing bacteria, Acetobacter xylinum. In fact it could be described as an unusually solid ‘mother of vinegar’ (see vinegar). The nata forms as a mat on the surface of a sugar solution in which the fruit trimmings are steeped. It is lifted off, washed, and sun dried; then cooked in syrup before serving. It is almost completely non-nutritious and has only a faint taste of the original fruit.