Coconut seems all the rage these days. With news about the many benefits plus far greater availability of all sorts of wonderful coconut products, now’s the time to get cooking with coconut. Try fresh and dried coconut plus coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut butter and even coconut flour, a popular gluten-free, high-fiber alternative for baking and cooking. And, of course, a whole slew of coconutty recipes like Coconut Ambrosia, Coconut Fudge and Baked Coconut Lentils.
Here’s the rundown on the ways you can get in the kitchen with coconut:
Fresh – if you’ve never cracked a coconut, now’s a great time to go for it. Head to our produce department for a whole, brown coconut (full of delicious white coconut meat) or a young, green coconut (full of nutritious thirst-quenching electrolytes).
Dried – available shredded or grated into sprinkles, flakes and chips, dried coconut is delicious in baked goods, breading, cereals, trail mix and more. Garnish main dishes, salads, soups and desserts. Be sure to choose unsweetened. Here are some great recipes: Coconut Bread, Coconut Crumb Cake, Coconut Oatmeal Cookies and Coconut and Macadamia Granola.
Coconut milk – available in cans or in aseptic packages and milk-like cartons in the dairy case, coconut milk is a great non-dairy alternative for folks avoiding soy and tree nut-milks. It’s available in light or regular. Use it in place of dairy milk for most recipes. Try making Coconut Milk Ice Cream in the summer. Enjoy healthy leafy greens with our Coconut Milk-Braised Greens recipe, and for breakfast, how about this Orange French Toast with Bananas? Coconut milk is amazing in soups, main dishes, smoothies and desserts; it’s a great replacement for cream. Try Coconut, Carrot and Chickpea Soup, Green Curry Tofu, Butternuts Squash and Macaroni Casserole, Coconut Flan and Baked Brown Rice Pudding with Dried Fruit.
Coconut water – refreshing and sweet with potassium and minerals, this beverage is a popular drink for outdoor activities, sports events, hiking and biking. Drink it to cool off and recharge in the summer heat.
Coconut butter – made from whole coconut meat that’s been ground into a creamy butter. Delicious on toast, muffins, scones and biscuits.
Coconut oil – rich and nutritious, coconut oil is wonderful in baked goods, stir-fries, hot cereals and soups. Plus, it’s a great moisturizer for the skin. These recipes are some of my favorites: Coconut Oil Biscuits are fabulous with cherry jam! Coconut Oil Pie Crust is a vegan favorite. For more, there are Coconut Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Coconut Tofu with Spicy Pineapple Dipping Sauce, Seared Tuna with Cumin, and Sweet Potato Pancakes.
Coconut flour – this gluten-free flour made from ground coconut meat is low in carbohydrates and high in fiber. It absorbs a lot of liquid, meaning you can’t use it one for one in place of regular flour; you’ll need a good recipe like these Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies to get you started.
Are you coconut connoisseur? Got a favorite recipe or idea? Let me know.