Coconuts have been widely lauded as a superfood, but can be tough to incorporate into your diet. Nevertheless, it’s a versatile ingredient and an excellent way to boost your eating habits towards a healthier direction. Here are a few of the most popular food products made with coconuts.
Coconut oil is an edible oil made out of the meat of mature coconuts, and can be extracted through two processes: dry and wet. In dry extraction, fire or sunlight is used to dry the coconut meat to create copra, which is then squeezed out to produce the oil. In wet extraction, the raw coconut is used without being dried. Though it contains 90% saturated fat and around 9% monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, coconut oil is still a more healthful alternative compared to others in its class, seeing as how it is made from medium chain fatty acids. It can be used for cooking, as well as in the production of beauty and hygiene products.
Coconut butter is a thick paste made from coconut meat that has a texture comparable to other traditional butters made out of dairy or other vegetables. It’s easy to make at home with a high-powered food processor and can lend a distinct flavor to curries and smoothies, as well as vegetable stir-fried or mashed.
Coconut water is the liquid found inside coconuts and is not only a refreshing drink in itself, but is also richly packed with nutrients. It’s an excellent remedy to dehydration and fluid loss, which makes it a great post-workout drink.
Coconut milk is created by grating the meat of a brown coconut and is a tasty alternative for dairy milk in your smoothies. In Asian cuisine, it is an indispensable ingredient that can lend great flavor and texture to Indian dishes like curry, and it can also be used to create delicious coconut or coconut-themed desserts.
Coconut flour is what remains after the milk has been extracted from coconut meat. It is grain and gluten-free which makes it safe for those subscribing to those diets and is a great way to sweeten baked products without adding much additional sugar, as the flour itself is naturally sweet. It also has a high fiber content, which means pastries and bread made of coconut flour are not only healthier, they are also heavier and denser than goods made with wheat flour.
Flaked coconut, otherwise known as desiccated or shredded coconut, finds itself mainly used as toppings for various desserts where it imparts a distinctive flavor.
Naturally sweet coconut can also be made into coconut sugar, which is taken from the coconut palm tree. It is a natural sweetener that is seeing more popularity in recent years. If you seek an alternative to refined sugars for whatever reason, it’s the sugar for you.
Finally, coconut vinegar is the vinegar of choice for many Asian dishes and is made out of either coconut water or from the sap of coconut palm trees. It has a characteristic mellow sourness not found in other vinegars which makes it a perfect ingredient to cooking or as a dipping sauce for fried foods.