Using Raw Coconut

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Using Raw Coconut

IntroductionCoconut Can Be Used in Many FormsRaw Coconut WaterRaw Coconut MeatCoconut Oil/ButterHow To Crack Open a CoconutHomemade Coconut MilkCoconut Water KefirCultured CoconutAlways Purchase Organic Coconuts

Introduction

Coconut has magical health properties. It is absolutely loaded with antibacterial and antiviral properties. It has lauric acid, which has a powerful antiviral effect on the body, and caprylic acid, which is a potent anti-fungal. Coconut is fantastic for boosting immunity and staving off illness. If I am around anyone who is sick, I consume huge amounts of coconut and it never fails me. I carry a packet of creamed coconut or sachets of coconut with me in my purse. 

Coconut is high in health promoting plant based saturated fat, and has both short and medium chain fatty acids which break down very quickly and are necessary for the proper utilization of omega 3 found in flaxseeds. Long chain fatty acids have to be broken down through the liver bile process. Whereas the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut is readily available through the small intestine as energy.

Studies have linked coconut with weight loss. There are two types of fat in the body. Brown fat and white fat. Brown fat sits around the internal organs. Brown fat burn white fat. It takes good healthy plant based saturated fat like the ones found in coconut to activate the thyroid and the brown fat which helps to lose white fat.

Coconut Can Be Used in Many Forms

I use coconut in every possible form:

  • coconut oil/butter
  • coconut meat
  • coconut water
  • coconut milk
  • coconut cream
  • creamed coconut
  • dried coconut flakes

I crack open raw young Thai coconuts and make my own fresh product on a weekly basis. Cracking open young Thai coconuts is a bit daunting at first. But once you get the hang of it, the fruits of your labour will be well worth the effort. You can freeze the meat and the water for use later. You can also purchase fantastic organic creamed coconut, which I use in my smoothies when I have run out of fresh coconut. This product is a life saver! It is extremely easy to work with, and makes working with coconut much more accessible.

Raw Coconut Water

Coconut water is also known as coconut juice, and is low in calories, low in carbohydrates, and almost completely fat free. Dubbed as “nature’s Gatorade”, coconut water is a natural isotonic energy drink, which assists in maintaining the body’s electrolyte balance. In fact, one cup of coconut water contains more electrolytes than most commercial sports drinks.

Coconut water is high in protein, B vitamins and ascorbic acid; and contains zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfur, manganese, boron and molybdenum. It is also loaded with potassium. One cup of coconut water contains more potassium than a banana. Fresh coconut water is a magical health elixir, boosting the function of the liver, thyroid, kidneys and gall bladder. Not to mention the beautifying powers! Coconut water is great for skin spots and cracked lips.

The water from Young Thai (green) coconuts is always preferred. As the coconut matures, the sugar content increases, and the ascorbic acid content decreases. Therefore the nutritional profile is a lot more in our favour if we get them young!

I add coconut water to smoothie, make sports drinks by adding chia seeds and juices, and add it to raw puddings. I also make coconut kefir every week as a powerful probiotic drink. It is essential to use fresh raw coconut water to make coconut kefir. It is always preferable to use fresh coconut water for the other recipes, but if you are in a hurry and don’t have time to crack open your own coconuts it is okay to use the store bought variety, that is readily available from health food stores and grocers now. 

Purchase 100% pure coconut water with no additives or preservatives. Also, try to purchase raw unpasteurized coconut water that has not been heated. A lot of coconuts are dipped in toxic preservatives to prevent mold, and also bleached before wrapping, which affects the water.

You can purchase raw coconut water from Exotic Superfoods in the U.S.

**See my note about using ORGANIC cococonuts only.

I buy coconuts in bulk, open a ton of them in batches with friends, and then freeze the water for use later. Just remember to leave about an inch at the top of the container, as the water will expand when frozen. It is better to use it fresh. But it is very convenient to have some frozen available at any time.

Raw Coconut Meat

I always use the flesh of Young Thai Coconuts, or “green coconuts”, which are sometimes labelled “Immature” or “Drinking” Coconuts from Thailand. These Young Thai Coconuts can be found at Asian grocers, farmers markets, health food stores, and even some regular grocery stores. They are most often sold with the husks already removed so they look creamy white with a flat bottom and a pointy triangular top; and can be sliced open and the flesh scooped out.

The younger the coconut, the softer the flesh. This soft flesh scoops out very easily, and is wonderful for ice creams, sauces, puddings, and smoothies. The harder, more rubbery coconut meat from slightly older coconuts is great for shaving and shredding for baking, and for making raw noodles and raw pastas.

You can purchase organic coconuts from Exotic Superfoods in the U.S.

You can also purchase coconut meat in packets in the freezer section of select health food stores. It is convenient but really expensive at around $15 a pack for 2 cups of meat. 

Coconut Oil/Butter

I use organic coconut oil for almost all of my cooking; and in a lot of my baked, roasted and raw recipes.

The reason why it is called a butter and an oil is that it has more of a butter consistency at cold temperatures and turns into an oil when heated. Coconut oil is naturally stable, and is the only oil that is not adversely altered by heat. It can be heated to extreme temperatures and does not go rancid. It also does not raise cholesterol levels.

The really good organic coconut oil or butter is produced within an hour or two after opening the coconut. The oil is extracted using Direct Micro Expelling (DME) equipment and preserves the natural flavour and aroma of the coconut. Make sure you buy fresh unrefined coconut oil to cook with. Any product that smells toasted or rancid needs to be discarded.

Coconut oil is high in health promoting plant based saturated fat, and has both short and medium chain fatty acids which break down very quickly and are necessary for the proper utilization of omega 3 found in flaxseeds . Long chain fatty acids have to be broken down through the liver bile process. Whereas the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut is readily available through the small intestine as energy.

Coconut butter is absolutely loaded with antibacterial and antiviral properties. It has lauric acid, which has a powerful antiviral effect on the body, and caprylic acid, which is a potent anti-fungal. Coconut oil is fantastic for boosting immunity and staving off illness. I will add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to my smoothies to get my daily dose. 

Studies have linked coconut with weight loss. There are two types of fat in the body. Brown fat and white fat. Brown fat sits around the internal organs. Brown fat burn white fat. It takes good healthy plant based saturated fat like the ones found in coconut to activate the thyroid and the brown fat which helps to lose white fat.

Unrefined coconut is also a fantastic natural body moisturiser! I only ever use organic cold-pressed extra-virgin coconut oil to moisturise my skin. It feels fantastic and smells absolutely divine!

Check out the wealth of information about the health benefits by typing in “coconut” into the search bar at mercola.com

How To Crack Open a Coconut

Opening coconuts takes a bit of practice before it doesn’t scare you! In the art of coconut cracking, it really is a case of practice makes perfect. 

I usually have a coconut cracking day and do a whole batch at a time. I will make a huge batch of coconut kefir; and then freeze any excess water and flesh for use in smoothies, ice creams, and desserts later.

So how do you open a young Thai coconut?

I have had a few disastrous trial runs at this over the years, and there have been a few laughs, tears and injuries along the way. My first foray into coconut cracking was with my dad years ago. It was pretty hilarious. I asked him to help me, assuming he was a coconut cracking expert, having grown up in the tropics of Australia where he had coconuts growing in his back yard. Well, it turns out, a coconut owner, does not a coconut cracker make!

After several exasperated attempts to crack open these coconuts, I went into the kitchen to find some other implements, only to return five minutes later to find "Tim-The-Tool-Man-Taylor" hacking and cracking into the first batch of coconuts with an electric drill he had grabbed in desperation from his tool shed! While I was barreled over laughing telling him that, “I didn’t think that was the most sanitary way to extract the water”, he carefully explained to me with great conviction that “we needed to pierce all the eyes so the water would pour out neatly and that this was the most efficient way to avoid wasting the water”.

It is true that raw coconuts have three eyes, and if you pierce the soft one in just the right place you can quickly drain the water by turning it upside down over a jug. So, I went along with this plan of attack as he was giving up his day to help me crack dozens of coconuts. His technique might not have been conventional, but it worked. The coconut water came out with ease and then we used a saw (!!) to slice them open to spoon out the meat.

However, seeing as I prefer to keep my food in the kitchen and out of the garage, and in the spirit of health and safety guidelines, I have shelved the electric power tools in favour of a basic cleaver. After watching countless videos on "How To Open A Young Thai Coconut" on You Tube, and trying many of the strategies. I keep coming back to this amazing video, and will proudly proclaim, this is the best way to open a coconut I have found. I have had several people who have never opened a coconut follow along with this video, and it works every time.

So here is the best way to “crack it”.

Use a standard cleaver in favor of any of your expensive kitchen knives. To be honest, they don’t really do the trick and you will just blunt and ruin them. The best thing to do if you are going to crack open young green coconuts on a regular basis is to purchase a cleaver just for this purpose.

Lay the coconut on its side and make sure it is secure. A good way to do this is to place it on a heavy chopping block with a tea towel underneath. Shave off the outer layers and get down to the inner coconut. As soon as you break through, place the coconut upright, and cut into the side of it and pry it open. Watch the video. Pour out the water into a jar, bottle or pot, and scoop out the flesh.

Not all coconuts were created equal. They range in size and some will yield more water than others, and the coconut meat will vary from very thin and soft, to much thicker and firmer, and sometimes even rubbery. The soft flesh is fantastic for smoothies, creams, sauces and ice creams; and the firmer meat is better used for raw coconut noodles and raw pastas.

I freeze the hard flesh in one bag and the soft flesh in another bag. The soft creamy meat scoops out easily with a spoon, and the harder meat can be loosened with the back of a spoon. You might have to rinse or cut off the brown shell that often gets stuck. Obviously, just like all other fresh foods, this coconut water and coconut meat is best consumed immediately. But the meat and water really does freeze well.

If you freeze the water, just make sure you leave an inch or two at the top of your container to allow for the expansion that occurs when freezing.

See my section below on buying organic coconuts. 
 

Homemade Coconut Milk

To make home made raw coconut milk: place the coconut meat and coconut water in a blender with a ratio of 3 parts coconut water to 1 part coconut meat, and blend until smooth and creamy.

If you want a richer, creamier milk, you could add a tablespoon of coconut butter and a tablespoon of lecithin; and you could sweeten with coconut sugar, coconut nectar, dates, maple syrup, stevia, or another natural sweetener of your choice. But I don't think it needs it. 

You can also make quick coconut milk by blending unsweetened dried coconut with coconut water. 

Coconut Water Kefir

I drink fresh coconut kefir every day. This magic elixir is loaded with potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium, and contains powerful probiotics essential in maintaining the healthy intestinal flora of the digestive system. Probiotics, such as lactobacillus and bifidus help white blood cells combat infection and disease; they assist with digestion protecting the intestinal mucous and controlling putrefactive bacteria; and they are a rich source of Vitamin B 12.

I first learnt about the health benefits of coconut kefir, and learnt how to make it from reading The Body Ecology Diet. Donna Gates maintains in her book, that coconut kefir has miraculous medicinal and healing effects on the body. She writes that raw coconut kefir increases energy, and aids in the digestion of all foods; it cleanses the endocrine system and liver; and tones, cleanses, and balances the intestines. She also suggests that drinking coconut kefir can improve vision; stop cravings for sugar; strengthen hair, skin and nails; and even dry up moles, warts, and fade skin spots!

Having drank coconut kefir for some time now, I can personally attest to many of these claims. Best of all, it tastes absolutely delicious. Although, I will say, for some people, it is an acquired taste, and takes some getting used to. I am a tart at heart, so I like the tangy sour flavour that has a lot of bite. It is like a healthy spritzer or champagne cocktail without the hangover!

Here’s a summary of Donna’s instructions on how to make raw coconut kefir from The Body Ecology Diet:

  1. Slightly heat the water from 3 fresh coconuts (about 4 cups) in a saucepan. 
  2. Once the water gets to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit (don’t let it boil), stir in one sachet of Body Ecology Kefir Starter. Heating the water before adding the culture just gives the fermentation a kick-start and “wakes up” the bacteria and provides a good breeding environment.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a glass mason jar, and then let the water sit out at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit for about 36-48 hours, depending on how stable and warm the environment is.
  4. The microflora (friendly bacteria) will ferment the sugar in the coconut water, and by doing so, will turn the clear liquid into a white, bubbly, foaming mixture. When you take the lid off it should pop like a carbonated soft drink or soda. This is your first indication the mixture is ready, Next, taste it to make sure all of the sugar has been fermented away. The kefir should be tart, tangy and bubbly. Now you have fresh home made coconut kefir.
  5. Transfer this mixture to the fridge and store in a sealed glass container. 
  6. You can get a lot of bang for your buck out of one sachet of starter culture. To make subsequent batches of kefir, add in ¼ cup of kefir to your next 4 cups of coconut water (about a gallon).

Drink 1/4 cup of this kefir in the morning and 1/4 cup at night right before bed. While you are laying horizontal, the good bacteria has a colonization party in your gut and colon. You can also add 1/2 cup to smoothies. With coconut water kefir, less is more. This stuff is potent, and really gets your digestive system moving. If you drink too much you may be paying homage to the toilet bowl more times than you would like. Trust me....I've been there. 

Cultured Coconut

You can add coconut water kefir to coconut meat to make a coconut kefir cheese, cultured salad dressings, raw coconut dips, or coconut puddings and desserts.

Just put some coconut meat into the blender with just enough filtered water to achieve a pudding-like thick consistency.
Add in a few tablespoons of coconut water kefir or break open 2 good quality probiotic capsules.
Then allow the mixture to stand at 70F/21C for about eight hours until fermented.

You can flavour this pudding with a sweetener of choice for a delicious probiotic-rich pudding, or leave as a cheese.
You can also add herbs and spices for a scrumptious dip, or thin out with extra water and savoury flavourings for a zesty salad dressing.

I also add the cultured coconut meat to smoothies for a probiotic-rich drink. 

Always Purchase Organic Coconuts

Purchase certified organic Thai coconuts wherever possible.

Some companies use a fungicide dip such as formaldehyde or sodium metabisulphate before exporting to help eliminate mold and bacteria during the 4 - 6 week shipping process.

There is a possibility that these coconuts have also been irradiated during the shipping process. Some coconuts could also be cross pollinated with palm tree, making them incredibly sweet.

Please note that it is estimated that over 30% of young Thai coconuts are rotten at stores. This is indicated by a purple coloured pulp and water, with black spots and a pink tinge on the outer husk.

You can get organic coconuts and coconut products from Exotic Superfoods in the U.S.

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