Everything you need to know about coconuts

March 5, 2018 (Last Updated: October 21, 2019)
All you need to know about coconuts

A lovely bunch of coconuts… Add a tropic twist to your summer menu with healthy, full-on-flavour coconut. You’ll be back on the beach with your toes in the sand in no time!

How to open a coconut:

Remove the fibrous outer husk of the coconut. There will be 3 small indentations at the top end of the coconut – pierce the softest two and pour out the water. Firmly knock the emptied coconut around its circumference a few times on the edge of a step or a hard surface. The coconut will crack evenly in half and is ready to use.

TRY THIS: Pork meatballs in a fragrant lemongrass and coconut broth

Shaved coconut is delicious toasted and added to granola or your favourite muesli.

Desiccated coconut is unsweetened coconut flesh that has had the coconut oil removed, and then undergone a sterilising process, dried and desiccated. It is graded according to its size – fine, medium or coarse grades. It is popular in baking as well as curries and sambals.

Coconut flour has become a popular ingredient in gluten-free and low-carb diets. It is essentially very finely ground desiccated coconut that may be used as a substitute for regular flour.

ALSO TRY: Sweet coconut, yoghurt and ginger hummus

Fresh coconut is a great, low-carb, on-the-go snack, but it also works in baking and desserts, as well as curries and salads.

Coconut sugar, also known as coconut palm sugar, is a natural sugar that, unlike regular sugars, retains some minerals and nutrients during its manufacture. It is produced from the sap of the palm, which is then heated and dried to remove excess water.

Coconut cream is very similar to coconut milk, the difference being that it contains much less water. It has a rich and velvety consistency with high-fat content.

NOW TRY: Aubergine, chickpea and coconut curry

Coconut milk has a thinner and more fluid consistency than coconut cream, as it is made with a higher ratio of water. Coconut water is the clear, water-like fluid held within a fresh coconut, and is renowned for its high electrolyte content, making it the ideal fluid to aid dehydration. It is high in potassium and is naturally fat- and cholesterol free.

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