FAT-FILLED MIRACLE FOOD DOMESTIC USAGE

The physical properties and nutrients of coconuts can vary depending on their maturity. Young coconuts have either a white husk or a green shell, and possess larger amounts of coconut water and softer meat. On the other hand, mature coconuts, the brown and hairy variety, have less water and firmer meat.

Whether they’re young or mature, coconuts are considered the “plant of life” due to their astounding commercial and domestic uses:

THE  HUSK

HUUSSKKThis is the rough exterior of the coconut which is made up of the coir (tough fibres).  Back in the days when there weren’t any scouring pad to wash the dishes, the locals used the coir – with sand — to clean their pots. It gave quite a shine to the utensil. For families who could not afford mattresses, the fibre was used as stuffing to make homemade mattresses. The whole husk is also great to plant with, fuel fires and make toys. This is one of the major uses of coconuts, at least for the many people who make a living with it. People in many rural areas make their living from making ropes out of coconut husk, and it is a profitable business. This is actually a difficult task and requires immense manual labor. However people work in large groups in coir factories to make ropes and mats from the husks of coconuts.

THE SHELL

SSSSHEELLBefore reaching the delicious flesh inside the coconut one has to get through the hard shell. Today this is mostly thrown away after extracting the flesh — did you know that it makes a great charcoal replacement? The shell which is quite strong is also used by artisans to create long-lasting handicrafts. The hard shell of the fruit is useful, too. It is traditionally used in homes to steam food. The shells are also a popular craft material. Many beautiful craft items are made out of coconut shells. You can easily color the shells and carve them into beautiful art pieces. Children use them for playing as well.

THE FLESH

SONY DSCThis is the edible part of the nut. The vitamin-rich coconut kernel (the flesh) can be eaten raw or cooked, or processed to manufacture other products. When grated — placed in water and squeezed (or blended) it produces coconut milk used in many Creole meals and desserts. When matured, oil can be extracted from the kernel. The oil can be used for cooking, prevent hair damage and moisturize the skin. Psst, it’s a great sunscreen too. This is the first use most people think of. You can eat the fruit of a coconut tree, and this is the plant’s most common use. Coconuts can be eaten either raw or cooked, and they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants. Before you can eat coconut, the white flesh of the fruit needs to be separated from the outer hard shell. Do do this, you may use a coconut scraper to grate the fruit or a coconut meat removal knife to separate the flesh after opening the shell. The freshly grated coconuts can be easily added to your recipes or you can store it in refrigerator for few days. Coconut milk is also very popular. It is widely used in many Asian cuisines, especially in South India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. It is usually used to thicken soups and stews, and you can also use it as a substitute for milk if you have milk allergy. To make coconut milk, you can either squeeze grated coconuts in water with your hands (this produces a milder version), or you can stick them in a blender with a little water (this produces a thicker version).  Additionally, coconut milk is an excellent hair conditioner. You can apply the coconut milk to your hair and scalp and rinse after a few minutes. This will make your hair soft and shiny and improves the health of hair by reducing hair fall. Coconut milk is also an ideal ingredient to be added in homemade face masks in place of water.  The fruits can also be turned into coconut flour, which is available in markets nowadays. The flour is often used as a gluten-free substitute.

 TREE LEAVES

LLEAVVSSThe leaves of the coconut palms are very large and beautiful. I love how they look; they are great subjects for photography.  People have used these leaves to make fences as well as roofs for their small huts, and in many places, people still use them for thatching. They are cost effective and provide shelter for many people who cannot afford the cost of other materials. Sometimes they are used not only for making the roofs, but to make the walls of houses as well. Making houses from the palm leaves may not be the best option—they can’t survive extreme weather conditions and there are safety concerns—but in many places, people rely on this tree to create shelter.

And coconut leaves aren’t only helpful for humans. Did you know that coconut leaves are one of the favorite foods of elephants?  These are used to weave hats, baskets and mats. It’s a time-consuming practice which takes a bit of skill. Skilled craftsmen use the midribs — the central veins that hold the leaves together — to make brooms. These are also used to make barbecue skewer, decorations and traditional toys. In the past, the leaves were sometimes used for thatching traditional Creole houses.

TIMBER

TRUNNK

Coconut timber has many applications as both a structural and interior design material. The harder, high-density timber is suitable for general structural purposes such as pillars, trusses, rafting, furniture, window and door frames, floors, decking and floor joists. Medium density coconut timber can be used for walls, ceiling joists and horizontal studs. Low density coconut timber is used in non-load bearing applications like wood panelling, internal trim and ceilings, as well as homewares.  In the past, the trunks were turned into planks, used to board and partition houses. They make great pillars as well.

 THE  FLOWER:  THE MEDICINE

FFLOWWWERRCoconut flowers have many medicinal uses. They are an ingredient in many traditional remedies, especially medicines for new mothers.

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FAT-FILLED MIRACLE FOOD RECIPES

The sweet, creamy flesh of this tropical nut can be used in sweet and savoury dishes. Now, let us check out some of the recipes of Coconut!

Coconut-ice marshmallows

 Ingredients:coconut_ice

  • 300g desiccated coconut
  • 10 sheets gelatine
  • 500g granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp liquid glucose
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Malibu, or coconut liqueur
  • Pink food colouring
  • A little icing sugar, for dusting

Method

  1. Toast half the coconut in a large, wide pan over a very low heat. Keep stirring the whole time so the coconut toasts evenly. When the flakes are tinged golden brown, tip into a bowl to stop them cooking any further.
  2. Line 2 square tins or dishes (18cm or 16cm) with baking parchment. Spread half the toasted coconut evenly over the base of one, and half of the untoasted coconut over the base of the other.
  3. Put the gelatine leaves, one by one so that they don’t clump together, in a large bowl of cold water and leave to soften while you make the marshmallow mixture. Put the sugar, liquid glucose and 200ml cold water in a small, deep heavy-based saucepan, so that the mixture will be deep enough to get a thermometer reading. Place over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. Turn up the heat and boil until the mixture reaches firm ball stage on a sugar thermometer (about 125C) – this will take a while. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, drop a little of the syrup into a glass of very cold water – if it sets to a firm but malleable ball, it’s ready.
  4. While the sugar is boiling, beat the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric whisk until stiff.
  5. When the syrup has reached the right stage, pour it in a steady stream into the egg whites while you continue whisking – making sure it hits the egg whites before the whisk blades. Lift the gelatine leaves out of the water, squeeze out any excess water and add, one at a time and still whisking continuously, to the mixture. Add the vanilla and Malibu, and continue whisking – the mixture will go shiny and start to thicken. Continue whisking for about 10 mins until it’s very thick, just pourable.
  6. Scrape half the marshmallow mixture into the toasted coconut tin and spread the top to flatten as much as possible, then sprinkle over the remaining toasted coconut
  7. Add some pink food colouring to the second half of the mix, little by little and whisking all the time, until you get a nice colour. Scrape into the untoasted coconut tin, level as for the first, and sprinkle with the remaining untoasted coconut. Leave to set somewhere cool (but not the fridge) for at least 2 hrs, or until firm.
  8. One at a time, carefully ease the sheets of marshmallow away from the sides of the tins, then turn out onto a chopping board. Remove the parchment and cut into squares with a sharp knife dusted with a little icing sugar if it is sticking. Keep in an airtight container, layered between sheets of parchment to prevent sticking, for up to a month.

Chocolate coconut banoffee pie

Ingredients:coconut_chocolate

  • 397g can caramel
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • bananas
  • a little cocoa powder, for dusting

For the coconut cream

  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp Malibu
  • 300ml pot double cream

For the base

  • 200g pack creamed coconut, roughly chopped
  • 400g bourbon biscuits

Method:

  1. To make the base, gently melt the creamed coconut in a pan, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, whizz the biscuits in a food processor (if you don’t have one, bash to the finest crumbs you can). Mix with the melted coconut and a pinch of salt. Press over the base and up the sides of a 22cm round loose-bottomed fluted tin. Chill.
  2. To make the coconut cream, bring the coconut milk to almost a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, caster sugar and flours. Pour the hot coconut milk over while whisking continuously. Tip back into the pan and gently heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, smooth and glossy. (At first it will be lumpy, but keep beating and it will become smooth.) Simmer for 2 mins, then take off the heat and stir in the Malibu. Cool with a sheet of cling film laid directly on the surface so a skin doesn’t form.
  3. Scrape the caramel into a pan with the chocolate, broken into chunks, and gently melt together. Peel and slice the bananas, then arrange the slices over the base of the pie. Pour over the chocolate caramel and chill again to set – 1 hr at least, or up to 24 hrs.
  4. When the coconut cream has gone cold, scrape into a bowl with the double cream and beat until just thick enough to hold a peak. Gently spoon into a plastic food bag (easy to transport) and chill until ready to serve.
  5. To serve, snip off the end of the cream bag and pipe all over the pie. Dust with a little cocoa to finish, and eat with any extra coconut cream mixture served in a bowl.

Spiced coconut porridge with cranberry & orange compote

 Ingredients:porridge

  1. 175g porridge oat
  2. 700ml milk
  3. 400ml can low-fat coconut milk
  4. 3 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  5. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  6. good grating of nutmeg, plus extra to served
  7. 160ml can coconut cream, plus shaved toasted coconut, to serve

For the compote

  • 3 tbsp light soft brown sugar
  • 3 oranges, peeled and sliced
  • 250g fresh or frozen cranberry

Methods:

  1. Mix the oats, milk, coconut milk, sugar, spices and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Set over a low heat and cook for about 20 mins, stirring every now and then to prevent the porridge from sticking, until it’s thick and creamy – add a splash more milk if you like it thinner.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the compote. Put the sugar and 2 tbsp water in a frying pan and heat to dissolve the sugar. Once bubbling, add the oranges and cranberries. Stir, then turn up the heat and leave to bubble for a few mins until most of the liquid evaporates and the compote becomes thick and sticky.
  3. To serve, spoon the porridge into bowls, top with the orange & cranberry compote, a swirl of coconut cream, some shaved coconut and an extra grating of nutmeg.

Enjoy your meal!!!

Let’s talk about Coconut: The Fat-filled MIRACLE FOOD

Coconuts are one of the wonder foods on earth that amply provides for all human needs and have multiple health benefits… They can even save your life!

Few people (even fewer doctors) understand how important the coconut is to stabilizing blood sugar; lowering cholesterol; healing; hydration; and even replacing blood plasma in an emergency. Yet, it has been only recently that modern researchers have begun to fully discover the massive coconut health benefits this amazing fruit seed offers.

To give just one example of coconuts’ life-saving properties, they were used extensively in the Pacific during World War II. Since blood plasma supplies were scarce, it was very common for medics to siphon pure coconut water from young coconuts to be used as emergency plasma transfusions for soldiers who were injured. Since coconut water is nearly identical to human blood, it was suitable for people of all blood types.

The popularity of coconut doesn’t end with hot-right-now coconut water. A variety of coconut-derived ingredients—from coconut oil to coconut flour and coconut milk—are increasingly being used in home kitchens, restaurants and packaged foods. But can a food so rich in calories and laden with saturated fat be healthy? Here are the health benefits and cons of coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flour, coconut water, coconut meat and coconut flakes.

Karen Ansel, M.S., R.D.

Considered one of the most treasured foods of all time, coconut products — including coconut flesh, coconut water, coconut oil, and coconut cream — each deliver superb health benefits.

Coconut oil, for instance, is considered the best and safest oil to use for cooking — even superior to extra virgin olive oil when it comes to giving the body what it needs for optimum health. Unlike other fats and oils that we typically use for cooking and baking, coconut oil does not form polymerized oils or dangerous trans fatty acids in our bodies, which can raise our cholesterol levels; clog our arteries and even make our skin sag and wrinkle. Plus, this ultra-safe oil can give your body important antioxidants that can help build stronger cells and improve your overall health and well being.

Coconut health benefits found all-in-one

Here are a few ways that you can take advantage of coconut products to stave off disease and to recapture the look and feeling of youth:

Coconut Water

  • The coconut is a natural water filter. It takes almost 9 months for a coconut to filter every quart of water stored within its shell. This makes the resulting coconut water completely pure and sterile, which is one reason why it can be used for blood transfusions.
  • Another benefit of coconut water is the fact that it has the highest concentration of electrolytes than anything else found in nature. This makes it an excellent source of hydration.

Coconut Oil

  • In addition to being superior for cooking and baking, coconut oil also makes a superb topical oil that can help to naturally rid the skin of dangerous toxins. It also gives the skin the perfect mix of hydration and antioxidants that it needs to stay healthy, smooth and younger-looking longer.
  • Another great benefit of coconut oil is in protecting your teeth from the bacteria that can cause cavities and disease. Simply rubbing a little fresh coconut oil on your gums and teeth can keep them stronger and healthier than virtually any other dental treatment.

Most people don’t realize that coconut oil can actually help you lose weight! Yes, simply changing your cooking oil from the unsaturated fat variety to coconut oil can help you lose those extra pounds.

Coconut Cream

  • The best skin treatment product one can use to achieve flawless skin may quite possibly be coconut cream. Unlike traditional skin creams which can actually introduce fats and oils to the skin that will break it down over time, making it look older, creams derived from the coconut can actually replenish the skin, giving it a more youthful and healthy glow than most other skin care products on the market.
  • When it comes to buying coconut products, coconuts are not all created equal. Wild coconuts are always best, but can be hard to obtain if you don’t live in a tropical country. Whether you are using this wonder food to boost your immune system; increase your metabolism or fight wrinkles, using products from young coconuts will help you reap the most benefit.
  • Young coconuts contain the purest unsaturated fat, compared to the fat found in the more mature varieties. This is why they offer the most rejuvenation properties for the body’s tissues. But how can you tell how old a coconut is? Young coconuts are usually green in color and oddly shaped. The brown hairy ones are mature coconuts, and while they offer a lot of healthy benefits, they aren’t nearly as good for you as younger varieties.

Coconuts Provide “All the Necessities of Life”

…to be continued in the next post