I have rediscovered coconuts!
While I have long used coconut milk in a lot of different recipes, including many curries, recently I was also introduced to coconut oil for higher temperature cooking. For me this replaces olive oil for much of my sautéing and roasting, which looses many of its nutrients at high temperatures. I discovered that the oil is very good for my skin and hair taken internally, but I now also use the oil as a skin lotion topically and it has worked wonders on my psoriasis!
But have you succumbed to the new coconut water craze yet? I have! I think I have found the fountain of youth! Coconut water is starting to show up even in my local Fred Meyers! I found it at my whole food store Chuck’s in Vancouver some months ago, but even Safeway and other local supermarket chains have picked up on the coconut water craze! Make sure you look for 100% pure coconut water!
I had all but forgotten the benefits of coconut water which I was introduced to when we lived in Hawaii during the 80s. My kids who hung out with all the locals (especially the surfers) drank it fresh from the green coconuts at the beach. The surfers just husked one and chopped it in half with a machete and drank it right from the shell. Great!
I guess I figured once we moved away from Hawaii…I would be hard pressed to find it “on the half shell” any other place…so I was more than happy to find it here on mainland shelves and “rediscovered” as a health drink! While the bottled and jarred juice is not quite as beneficial as drinking it raw, there are many types out now in stores that have little to no preservative in them. Consequently, they have a short shelf life, but all the health benefits are still there.
Drinking coconut water is not only refreshing, but very beneficial to your health. Raw fresh coconut water contains a whole range of vitamins and minerals and is 99% fat free….unlike it’s relative coconut milk. Coconut water is high in potassium content and therefore balances electrolytes easily. It also contains B vitamins, Vitamin C and calcium. It is more nutritious than Orange Juice and has more protein than whole milk. It can be given to babies and pregnant women with no fear of harm, and is often used as a remedy for bowel problems in the elderly. It contains only 5 g of natural sugars and is naturally sterile. It can be used to dress wounds, as a topical disinfectant and you can drink it! How perfect! It is a staple plant in the Islands since every part of the plant is used. Palm fronds are woven into baskets, canoes, and carriers of all kinds. The husks are cut in half and used as bowls or other food containers, the meat is used to flavor savory and sweet dishes either raw or condensed into coconut milk. Coconut milk is not the liquid in the center of a whole coconut. Coconut milk is actually made from extracting the juice from the coconut meat. Coconut milk is creamy and tastes nutty. When buying coconut milk, do not confuse it with coconut cream, which is a tasty sweetened beverage often used in desserts. Canned coconut milk is unsweetened and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes.
I like using it in recipes as well. My favorite is what I am calling Pina Colada Punch.
1 quart coconut water
1 cup orange juice
mint leaves and lime slices for garnish
Just mix together and enjoy! The kids love it! For a more grownup drink just add a jigger of spiced rum or flavored vodka to your 8 oz glass. Yummmmy! Enjoy!