Your Guide to All Things Coconut

A coconut can produce a variety of coconut products. There’s coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut water, coconut flakes and more! There are different uses for each as well as how to eat them. Here is a mini-gude on all things coconut. 

The Scientific aspects of coconut.

Coconut oil may have a bad reputation because of its high saturated fat content. However, the type of fatty acid that makes up the saturated fat content are medium chain triglycerides. Our body finds it easier to break these down, absorb them, and use them as energy. This is different compared to long-chained triglycerides, which must go through an additional process before being digested and absorbed. Therefore, consumption of medium chain triglycerides is encouraged for people on ketogenic diets or with malabsorption issues. Overall, studies have shown that this type of saturated fat does not negatively affect heart health or cholesterol levels when eaten in moderation.

Selecting, storing & cracking coconuts.

Selecting – Pick up coconuts and choose one heavy for its size. Also, shake it to make sure you hear juices inside.

Storing – You can store it at room temperature before cracking open but once opened, put it in the refrigerator.

Cracking – There are two types of coconut, mature and young. Mature coconuts have a brown shell and have 3 “eyes” at the top, which is used to determine where to crack the coconut. Use the sharp side of a hammer to crack it open. Young coconuts have a green soft shell but are white underneath the shell. They have a pointy top. Use a sharp knife and slice three lines to form a triangle at the top to cut off the tip.   

Forms Of Coconut

1. Coconut Oil is extracted from mature coconut meat. This oil is solid at room temperature. It is great for cooking since it has a high smoke point but can also be used in your hair or a skin moisturizer.

2. Coconut Butter is pureed coconut meat creating a combination of coconut oil and meat. It is a great alternative to butter since it has a thick creamy texture.

3. Coconut Water is the liquid inside a coconut. Young coconuts contain more coconut water than mature coconuts. Coconut water is a good rehydration drink because it contains electrolytes. 

4. Coconut Flakes are shredded coconut meat. This is a popular topping for baking desserts, smoothies, or acai smoothie bowls.

5. Coconut Meat is the white flesh inside a coconut. Young coconuts have soft and chewy meat, which can be blended into recipes. The meat of mature coconuts is hard which leads to a stronger coconut flavor.

6. Coconut Flour is ground and dried coconut meat. It is a gluten free and low carbohydrate flour. However, baking with coconut flour is not the same as regular flour and can’t be subbed with a 1:1 ratio.

7. Coconut Milk is the liquid from grated coconut meat. This yields a creamy and white liquid which can be used in a variety of dishes ranging from curry to baked goods.  

8. Coconut Sugar is made from the extraction of the sap of the coconut, which is then boiled and dehydrated. It provides the same calories are regular sugar. It does have a different flavor than regular sugar and can be swapped with a 1:1 ratio is baked goods.

References:

http://nutritionstripped.com/spotlight-on-coconut/

http://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/nutrition/is-coconut-sugar-a-healthier-sweetener/