Coconut Recipe & Nutrition | Precision Nutrition's Encyclopedia of Food

Coconut

Coconut

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At a Glance

Coconut is a fruit that grows on trees in tropical climates. The fruit offers white, fleshy meat beneath its hard outer shell. Coconut is an excellent source of healthy fats: ¼ cup of dried coconut offers 6g of fat, plus an offering of minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Coconut meat can be eaten fresh, though it is is commonly dried.  If using fresh coconut, getting to the meat requires a bit of work, but you are well rewarded with flavor if you are willing to do it. Alternatively you can purchase dried coconut from the baking section of your grocery store.

Overview

Coconut is a fruit that grows on trees. The coconut provides a source of meat and water. Flour, sugar, oil, butter, and milk are also made from the fruit. This ‘Spotlight on Coconut’ focuses on the white, fleshy meat of the coconut.

Identification

The coconut consists of three layers around a hollow center. The outermost layer is green, red, or yellow at first, but turns brown as the coconut matures. The hollow part of the coconut is filled with coconut water. Once a coconut is split open and drained, the white meat lining the walls of the shell is revealed.

Nutrition Info

Coconut meat is commonly dried and desiccated. In this form it can typically be found in the baking section of grocery stores.

1/4 cup of dried, unsweetened, desiccated coconut has approximately 97 calories, 0.7g of protein, 11.0g of carbohydrates, 2.1g of fibre, 1.0g of sugar, and 6.0g of fat.

Coconut meat is rich in minerals including potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Selection

If you purchase a whole coconut at the grocery store, first take the coconut and hold it up to your ear. Shake it up and down a little to see if there is water inside the coconut. If you don’t hear anything at all, the coconut is too ripe.

Once you’ve found a coconut with water inside, check that the coconut is intact by taking a close look at its exterior. Avoid any coconuts that are cracked or punctured (there should be no moisture leaking from its three dark eyes). Next, feel the weight of the coconut – a good coconut is heavy.

Storage

Store a whole coconut in the fridge for up to two months. Once opened, the coconut meat will last no more than several days. If you choose to grate the coconut meat, you can freeze it for 8 to 10 months.

Preparation

To open a coconut, use the dull backside of a cleaver (make sure the sharp blade end is not facing the coconut) and hold the coconut over a bowl. Tap the coconut firmly down the centre with the back of the cleaver, turning the coconut several times as you tap. Do this until you hear (and see) a crack open. Pry the two sides apart and drain the liquid in the bowl (be sure to reserve the liquid; it can be strained and enjoyed as a beverage).

Put the coconut halves on the middle rack of a preheated 400F oven for 20 minutes. This helps separate the meat from the shell. When the coconut halves have cooled, use a flathead screwdriver to wedge between the meat and the shell to pry them apart. Next, take a vegetable peeler and remove the brown skin covering the meat. Next, using a cheese grater or food processor, grate or grind the coconut meat until shredded.

To toast the coconut, spread the shredded coconut on an unlined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 12-18 minutes, stirring a few times while it’s cooking so that it toasts evenly. Thinner strips will toast more quickly than thicker ones. Toasted coconut can be used as a garnish or a snack. For example, it makes a great topping for yogurt or desserts, or an addition to homemade granola.

To make dried coconut, spread the shredded coconut on an unlined baking sheet and bake in preheated 200F oven for roughly 2 hours. Stir it occasionally to ensure that it dries evenly. Once it is dried, remove it from the oven and let it cool at room temperature. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the dried coconut can be kept for up to 2-3 months, or 6-8 months in the freezer.

Recipe: Coconut Macadamia Cookies

Coconut

A fun twist on traditional coconut macaroons, these cookies are sure to please. Enjoy them as a snack or serve as dessert.

Ingredients

coconut, desiccated, unsweetened
2.5 cups
macadamia nuts
1.5 cups
coconut sugar
1 cup
egg whites
1 cup
vanilla extract
1 tsp

Directions

Prep Time: 10 minutes   Cook Time: 10 minutes   Yield: 12-15

Put all ingredients into your blender or food processor and process until smooth (be patient, this might take awhile depending on the power of your blender/food processor). You may also need to scrape the sides of your blender/food processor with a spoon a couple times.

Once very well blended and somewhat fluffy, scoop spoonfuls of the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If you are feeling somewhat adventurous, you can also scoop the dough into a piping bag with a large tip and then pipe the cookies onto the cookie sheet.

Bake in preheated 350F oven for 8-10 minutes or until just golden.

Store in fridge.

Enjoy!

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At a Glance

Coconut is a fruit that grows on trees in tropical climates. The fruit offers white, fleshy meat beneath its hard outer shell. Coconut is an excellent source of healthy fats: ¼ cup of dried coconut offers 6g of fat, plus an offering of minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Coconut meat can be eaten fresh, though it is is commonly dried.  If using fresh coconut, getting to the meat requires a bit of work, but you are well rewarded with flavor if you are willing to do it. Alternatively you can purchase dried coconut from the baking section of your grocery store.