The mighty coconut. It harbors many uses in the kitchen. The meat has been used in both sweet and savory preparations all over the world. The milk and cream make for wonderful additions to just about any sauce, soup base, or dessert imaginable. Its oil was the go-to cooking oil up to the invention of seed oils in the Western world. Its versatility makes it a very handy fruit to have around; and its accessibility and affordability make it part of most households.
Coconut use does not stop at culinary treats. Coconuts have been used medicinally for an array of ailments. It is antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral, making it handy to fight off infections. It has been used as a laxative, and may even help regulate blood sugar.
The fascination with eating this magical fruit can be traced to as far back as 545 AD. Although the origin of the mighty coconut palm is unclear, it may have originated in south Asia, South America, or India (basically warm climates), making it a popular ingredient for tropical cuisine. Nowadays it is used for an array of products including gluten-free baking, smoothies, desserts, and as a dairy-free beverage.
Coconut is rich in:
- Manganese (60% DV)
- Copper (44% DV)
- Iron (11% DV)
- Potassium (10% DV)
Benefits of Consuming Coconut
It is highly nutritious and an energy powerhouse. Coconut fat is mostly made up of medium-chain triglycerides, a type of fat the body metabolizes into energy instead of storing. Coconut also contains polyphenols to combat oxidative stress. In addition, coconut water, the clear liquid inside the coconut has an adequate amount of electrolytes. Plus, given coconut milk’s high saturated fat content, it easily mimics the mouthfeel of dairy, making it a wonderful dairy alternative for those who do not consume cow’s milk.
How to Use Coconut
- Use coconut cream in Coconut Chipotle Shrimp.
- Use it as the base in this Almond Hot Chocolate recipe.
- Saute with coconut oil in standby recipes, such as Mexican-Style Picadillo.
- Use coconut chips to top any dessert or smoothie bowl.