THE GOOD FAT……COCONUT

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I love wholesome foods. And to me, the coconut falls under that umbrella. The trouble is, not all the time I hit the nail on the head when purchasing same. You see, once in a while I make the unfortunate choice of bringing home a tainted coconut. I hate when that happens.

Thankfully, most of the time I select a healthy product. And, my last visit to the farmer’s market I struck ‘bingo’. As depicted in the pic attached, you can see the beautiful milky flesh that is just waiting to be plucked and utilized in different dishes. I can certainly see a wicked coconut curry chicken on a bed of Jasmine rice. Or, maybe a turned cornmeal (polenta) with coconut curry shrimp. Hmm, my lips are salivating. I’m happy!

 For many of us who have busy lives, the coconut is conveniently processed in the form of a pure coconut cream or an already squeezed milk in can. I like that option especially when I’m strapped for time. However, I still prefer the wholesome product. I love the idea of selecting by executing my special shake of the fruit. It brings back childhood memories in Jamaica.

Coconut was and is still a popular food product in kitchens on the island. It seems like people in the Caribbean (including Jamaica), Sri Lanka and other domains knew about this amazing product for several years.

The health community in the United States is catching up and has taken a renewed interest in this spectacular food. Research and studies have proven that coconut has good fats (monounsaturated). This type of fat prevents blocked arteries.  Moreover, studies have shown that it will not spike the glucose level in the body. As a result, it’s excellent for those with diabetes. This fiber packed food keeps one satisfied for hours.

Already, I knew about the unbelievable enhancement coconut gives to a dish, so to learn of the health benefits is like music to my ear. Whenever I purchase a coconut, I go through the ritual of shaking to see hear that sound of the hopefully, refreshing water. Nine times out of ten, it’s a healthy product. I then take it home a give a rinse under tap water. A coconut consists of a set of three unique eyes. One is generally soft. It is this soft eye that I like to prick with a pointed knife or ice pick. I always get a high watching the water gush from this awesome fruit.

When I was a kid, I used to suck the water from this so-called eye. In fact, my siblings and I used to compete to see who could nab the flow. Oh, it was fun. Now, I sometimes try to use a straw to retrieve or simply hold the fruit over a glass or mug. Because this is a mature fruit, the shell is porous. And the trick is, everyone has their way of extracting the flesh. One excellent way that works perfectly for me is to cover the coconut with a dish towel. Then, I whack the hard shell with a hammer I’ve on hand.

This action breaks open the sturdy shell to expose the milky flesh (see attached pic). I then use a dull knife and pluck or lift out the flesh from the shell. I chop up the coconut in small pieces and store in the freezer in a ziplock bag for future use. If I have time on my hand, I place the chopped pieces in the blender, add water and blend to gain nature’s milk. I then use a strainer to separate the milk from the residue. Note that the residue can be used as a great snack by adding a little sugar. The milk is then poured in individual Tupperware and freezer.

I know, I know, the whole process sounds a bit tedious, but believe it or not, it takes merely a few minutes to complete. To me, the rewards are priceless.

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