I don’t know about you, but I have never tasted anything made with raw coconut that I didn’t like. In fact, my love of all things coconut might just rival my love of avocados. Yep, a huge statement. But there it is. Confessions of a vegetarian food blogger. The thing that both of these incredible raw foods have in common, is that they are both nutritional powerhouses. Please indulge me for a moment. I am going to sing the praises of all-things-raw-coconut again.
Raw coconut contains powerful antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties almost unmatched by any other food. The lauric and caprylic acids contained in coconuts are toxic to viruses and bacteria. But not healthy intestinal bacteria. It is high in saturated fat, and short to medium chain fatty acids, which break down very quickly in the body, and aid in the digestion of other fats.
Coconut water is low in calories, almost completely fat free, low in carbohydrates, and is high in protein, B Vitamins, and ascorbic acid. It is a natural isotonic drink, that restores the body’s electrolyte balance; and is a health elixir that boosts the function of the liver, thyroid, kidneys and gall bladder. Tess! You are not a qualified health care professional! You are a recipe blogger! Oh Yes!
For more information about the magical health benefits of coconut, head to mercola.com and type in coconut in the search bar. Some fascinating articles and studies from around the world will give you some further insight. Mercola.com is an absolutely invaluable resource for information about any health questions. Thank you Dr Mercola.
For my first recipe blog of this new decade, I am going to make sure everyone knows how to crack open coconuts and learns how to make use of this incredibly versatile food. You can make raw coconut ice cream, vegan puddings, vegan creams, vegan soups, and more. Home made coconut kefir is a fantastic way to utilize your raw coconut water, and fermented coconut pudding is incredibly delicious, and great for your intestinal health and digestion. Yes, you can do more with a raw coconut than just shred it and roll sweets in it. Although that is pretty good too! Check out my raw chocolate fruit balls rolled in coconut. YUMMO!
Those of you who have been on a tropical holiday and bought raw coconut water from a street vendor know the raw coconut joy I speak of. Today we are going to focus on one of the more widely recognized and used products from the coconut -- raw coconut milk. Now let me clarify, the homogenized creamy white coconut milk full of coagulants, additives and preservatives that you find in the cans on the grocery store shelf is completely unlike what you will find if you crack open a Young Thai Coconut.
When you crack open a raw coconut you will find white coconut flesh and clear coconut water. A simple homemade coconut milk recipe is to blend together this white coconut meat and this clear coconut water. It is that simple. The hard, time consuming part of the process is cracking open the coconuts! Young Thai Coconuts can be found at Asian Grocery Stores, Farmers Markets or Whole Food Markets and Health Food 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. Sometimes they are labelled as “drinking coconuts”.
PLEASE 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. Places to get these raw organic coconuts and coconut water is Exotic Superfoods if you are in the US, or Organic Lives if you are in Canada.
Now opening coconuts is a messy, time consuming act. I am not going to lie. AND it takes a bit of practice before it doesn’t scare the shit out of you! BUT, persevere! The coconut water and delicious raw coconut flesh that you will get is well worth the “blood, sweat and tears”. In the art of raw coconut cracking, it really is a case of practice makes perfect! And when you taste the fruits of your labour, and stick your snout into the coconut trough of heaven you will be wanting to crack it again and again and again!
Trust me, this natural, seemingly arduous path will lead you into culinary raw coconut milk Nirvana. I usually plan a bunch of raw coconut recipes I want to make; have a “coconut cracking day”, and open a whole batch of raw coconuts at a time. I team up with a friend and share the raw coconut pain and pleasure! We have a fabulous raw coconut feast, I make a huge batch of coconut kefir, and then freeze any excess coconut water and coconut flesh for use in raw coconut smoothies, raw coconut ice creams and raw coconut sauces later.
For my tips on How To Open Young Thai Coconuts head to my Use Raw Coconut page in my How To section. Once you have opened the coconut you can freeze the raw coconut meat and coconut water separately. I put the raw coconut meat in freezer bags to use later. 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. A great tip I got in a raw vegan class: freeze any extra milk into ice cube trays and then collect in freezer bags for quick use in raw smoothies later.
To make this fresh homemade coconut milk recipe just place the raw coconut meat and the coconut water in your Vitamix until smooth and creamy. The great thing about homemade raw coconut milk? It is one of those fabulous allergy free recipes that is so versatile in any kind of cooking, but particularly with vegetarian recipes, vegan recipes and raw recipes.
Homemade raw coconut milk is one of my favourite vegan milks. It is gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free, raw, hormone free, additive free, preservative free, more nutritious and unprocessed. A Vitamix, is really recommended to yield the best results. Regular blenders generally don’t have the grunt to get a smooth, creamy result.
One thing that is important to mention is that sometimes you have to run the blender for a while in order to achieve the most homogenized results, which warms up your blender, and thus the milk. Don’t be alarmed – the milk will not spoil. Just chill in the fridge, or add some ice-cubes into the blender at the end to cool if you are using the milk straight away.
The milk will safely keep in a cold fridge in a glass jar or jug for about 2 days, perhaps 3 days in a really cold fridge. The milk might separate a little and get a bit of a skim on the top. Just give it a stir or a quick pulse in the blender before using and you will be good to go.
Happy New Year my fellow piggies!