I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts

Learning more about the many wonders of the coconut

BY CHEF DEZ

What is hairy, unattractive and available in almost every major grocery store’s produce section?

No, it’s not an unshaven produce manager with bed-head. They are coconuts and more consumers tend to buy them dried or canned instead of fresh. Who wouldn’t be somewhat afraid of this intimidating, seemingly indestructible produce with an appearance that mimics a monster’s disembodied head?

Even I must admit, more times than not, I was more interested is using them to tease my children than I was in purchasing them.

Although using whole coconuts requires a small amount of work, experimenting with this imported harvest can be very enjoyable and rewarding.

Firstly, choose ones that seem heavy for their size, as this will be an indicator of a thicker flesh content on the inside, and water volume.

Also, it is important to select ones that seem to have the most liquid, by shaking them in your hand and listening for the sound of the natural coconut water. This naturally occurring coconut liquid however is not the same product that is available in cans or listed as ‘coconut milk’ as an ingredient in most recipes.

Natural coconut water is mildly sweet, naturally fat-free and tends to be more prevalent in recently harvested coconuts, as it will absorb into the inner flesh as they mature.

The first and easiest thing to do is to drain the coconut water.

Each coconut has three ‘eyes’ and one of them is always softer than the others. Take a metal skewer and find the softest one by piercing. Once you have determined which eye is softer press the skewer through and rotate while grinding the remainder of the eye to achieve a bigger hole. Then shake this open eye over a glass or container until all the coconut water has been removed. This liquid should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed or frozen within a 24-hour period. If the drained liquid tastes sour, then the coconut has spoiled and it should be discarded.

Once the coconut has been drained, place it in the freezer for at least 12 hours.

Once frozen, wrap it in a towel and proceed to hit it with a hammer a few times until the outer shell has cracked. Chunks of hard shell will break away from the flesh. The towel will help to contain the chunks of shell and flesh. To prevent any possible damage to the kitchen counter, one may want to do this hammering on a very solid surface, like a cement floor.

The flesh will now be separate from the hard shell and any remaining pieces that are not can be carefully removed with a knife.

Any thin brown skin left on the extracted white flesh can be removed with a potato peeler.

The task is a bit tedious, but very rewarding if you enjoy working with raw materials in the kitchen. The meat can now be grated, frozen, or cooked down to make the coconut milk called for in many recipes.

The Internet makes a great resource for uses of this raw flesh.

To make your own fresh coconut milk, add one cup of boiling water to one cup of packed grated fresh coconut. Let it steep for approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

Then squeeze this mixture in a clean kitchen cloth, or strain through a fine strainer over a bowl to capture the milk. Alternatively, it can also be processed in a food processor and then squeezed to get even more milk from the flesh.

This milk should be refrigerated and a thick cream will rise to the surface.

Chef Dez is a chef, writer & host. Visit him at www.chefdez.com.

 

Just Posted

Lacombe and Red Deer Chambers prepare members for cannabis legalization

Luncheon speaker educates businesses on marijuana policies

Lacombe Generals to host 2019 Allan Cup

The Allan Cup was last hosted in Alberta in 2013 in Red Deer

Rogers Hometown Hockey lands in Lacombe Feb. 3rd and 4th

The weekend will feature broadcast hosts Ron MacLean and Tara Slone, meet-and-greets with NHL alumni and activities for the whole family

UPDATE: Highway 2 lanes were closed due to milk truck fire near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

WATCH: Innisfail’s Berkley the bear celebrates first birthday

Discovery Wildlife Park’s newest Kodiak is excited for life this winter

UPDATE/WATCH: Jason Klaus and Josh Frank guilty in triple murder

Crown argues for 75 years to life in prison, sentencing on Jan. 22nd

Post interest rate hike debt tips

What to do about your debt and mortgages after the interest rate hike

Foreign workers sleeping in Alberta Burger King basement

Alberta Health Services said its inspectors found foreign workers sleeping in the basement of the Lethbridge restaurant

Court application halts release of bread price-fixing documents

Bread price-fixing documents won’t be unsealed Thursday, Loblaw says

Three-car pile-up on Northstar Drive and 58th Street

No injuries reported at Thursday afternoon incident

Pharrell and N.E.R.D to headline NBA All-Star halftime show

11-time Grammy winner Pharrell and his hip hop-rock band N.E.R.D. will headline the halftime show at the 2018 NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles

Heritage Minister wants zero tolerance for harassment in entertainment industry

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly had two meetings to discuss harassment in the film, TV and theatre worlds

Newly freed Diab wants reforms to Canada’s ‘lousy’ extradition law

French authorities dropped terrorism charges against Hassan Diab who was suspected of taking part in an attack in Paris in 1980

Russia probes come up against claims of executive privilege

The argument was laid bare this week during Steve Bannon’s interview with the House Intelligence Committee.

Most Read