Friday, July 27, 2012

Focus On Fruit- Coconuts

I am just now understanding and appreciating the wonderful coconut! Our other house had yellow husked coconuts the locals call "water" coconuts. We also had a taller one that dropped brown husk free coconuts we used for the meat. Locals called those the "meat" coconuts. Turns out that there are really only two major types of coconuts - tall and dwarf. You can use all parts from either. We have both types at our Moca house and are enjoying the young "jelly" meat, the dry "what you think of when you think of coconut" meat and the water. There are dozens of different varieties of coconuts and I don't know what we have but I do know that the green husked giant coconuts are awesome for water and the jelly type meat!
This dwarf type coconut has huge coconuts starting at about 4 feet. In the past we haven't been huge fans of the water but these are so big and heavy we gave them another try. Absolutely delicious! We have a lot of fun things on our to do list and don't want to take forever to do the fancy de husking so we pull out the drill to get our water out. Jeff uses a pretty big bit to drill the first hole. You can see that these coconuts are much bigger than his head. I have a rule about not eating things bigger than your head but we make an exception for these! These suckers are heavy also.
After the first hole he drills a second one to get the fluids flowing more and I stick a strainer over the pitcher and we drain them in. Each coconut has a cup or more of water in it. So how healthy is coconut water? There are about 46 calories per cup (which can add up if you drink a lot during the day). It is low in sugar and has a lot of electrolytes. It is high in potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphates and other goodies. It has been used intravenously as a hydration fluid where/when saline wasn't available. I don't like to drink a lot and never do sodas so this is a nice, mildly flavored thing for me that is more interesting than water. In the states I like the grapefruit flavored seltzer water but we can't find anything like that here. I wonder if carbonating it might be a sometimes interesting thing? What about the "jelly"? Inside these heavy water-laden coconuts is a jelly-like meat. In my raw food non-cook books I have read about how to use it but today did so for the first time. I used a spoon to scrape out the meat in the biggest pieces I could. I took Bragg Liquid Aminos (which is a soy product that is salty like soy sauce but with a much lower sodium amount) and liquid smoke and marinated the chunks in it. The jelly like stuff kind of looks like fatty skin. I dehydrated it at 145 degrees for around 5 hours and then ate it all! It tasted kind of bacony. The texture was kind of fatty and the salty smokiness was pretty yummy! I will be doing this again. I was going to save some for Jeff but couldn't. I think I may be more excited about this than about the water! We still have the tall coconut for the "meat." I think the husk just dries up and since you have to wait for them to fall the water has all been absorbed and when it hits the ground is only meat. This is less interesting to me. I highly recommend having dwarf coconut trees. The water and meat are good. They scream "tropical" like no other plant. They offer stuff that can sustain you and I think are a good thing to have around after a hurricane. Even if they drop the water stays sterile for a long time and if you've got that and the meat you are set for a while. (breadfruit is another good staple for after hurricanes - but that's another post...wait, I did that! panapen)


Fran and Steve said...

Nothing quenches thirst like delicious coconut water! I'm looking for a bumper sticker that says "I brake for coco frío". You're so lucky to have coconut palms. Each coco frío costs between $1.50 and $2.00. I enjoy the carbonated beverage "Coco Rico", made with coconut extract-- the diet version. If you can find it in the 2-liter bottle, it is sweetened with sucralose instead of aspartame like the canned version. -- Fran

Unknown said...

That's awesome. We visited with the couple that took care of our house until it was sold. They had the big green water coconuts that you have in your picture.

He used a machete to popthem open. It was very skillful and I could tell he had done it many times.

He chopped the top off first, then used the pointy part of the knife to remove the plug at the top.

Eric said...

Personally, I am not a fan of the water, or Coco Rico soda. I tried, and wanted to love it, but my taste buds just wont let me. On the other hand, I do love the meat that's on the inside of the shell. Now, that's great stuff!