I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts
It seems the world has literally gone bananas for coconut. I know I have. The humble coconut can be used in so many different ways, has unbelievable health benefits and tastes amazing. I wanted to just post something short and sweet about coconut products so you know what product to choose for whatever food you are wanting to make.
Coconut water: The juice that is in the centre of the coconut when its fresh and just cracked open. I have memories of when my family and I would spend our holidays in tropical north Queensland (Australia) and we would pick the coconuts off the ground, Dad would split them open with a hammer and we would all have a drink before we scooped the flesh out. This is best used as a drink – Ideal for hydration.
Coconut Milk/Cream: This is produced when you blend the flesh so its milky. Often its made from re-hydrating shaved coconut with just water, blending it up and squeezing the ‘milk’ out. This process is repeated at least twice with the coconut shavings. The level of ‘cream’ or fat is what classifies it to be a milk or cream. I use this in cooking, perfect for curries, baked fish or in smoothies.
Coconut Oil: This is processed to remove all ‘fibre’ or coconut meal. Usually using a cold pressing method, similar to that of extracting olive oil. It should be fairly clear when its liquid and have a opaque or white appearance when ‘set’. I use this instead of olive oil for cooking, searing food and its perfect for baking vegetables. Add a few tablespoons when baking sweet potato or pumpkin. I then add a few sprigs of rosemary and pinch of sea salt. Try it!
Creamed Coconut: This is like a paste, similar to a nut butter. It has a course texture and is much sweeter than coconut oil. Its a more yellow colour and the oil often separates from the meal – so I give it a quick stir to mix it back in. I’ve eaten this as it is out of the jar or made into coconut chocolate drops https://thewholefoodtruth.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/smooth-paleo-chocolate
Shaved/grated Coconut: The flesh shaved and dried. This is best as a snack or added to yoghurt for a quick filling snack. Can be lightly toasted which brings out a sweeter and roasted flavour which is really nice. Heat a fry pan and add a hand full of the shavings – toss or stir often to avoid the oil in the shavings from burning. This should only take 2 mins. Alternatively you can bake them for 10 or so minutes in a oven on a low heat. You’ll notice them beginning to turn golden. Store in an air tight container.
Coconut Flour: The meal ground up and dried. I use this in baking or as a thickening agent for foods. Please note that you only need approx 1:4 ration of coconut flour to regular wheat flour – It loves water and will soak up a lot of liquid. So when cooking just be conscious of this. It gives a sweetness to foods so its ideal for baking if you are removing or avoiding sugar. Makes a great Paleo Shortbread. (recipe to come)
Coconut butter: The smoothest of the products. Its made the same way are you get coco-butter from the cacao seed. It can be eaten as it is, spread on toast, mixed in with coco power to make your own chocolate. The kids will really enjoy this if you make it runny enough and pour over some berries for a quick paleo sweet dessert.
There you have it – my brief summary on the humble coconut.
Do you have a fav coconut based recipe? I’d love to hear more about how you use you coconuts!