The Tropical and Nutritive Coconut
The tropical and nutritive coconut is a fruit from the Cocos nucifera, the popular coconut palm, which is capable of living more than 80 years and eventually reaching 100.
Although it can take up to 5 years to yield fruit, when a coconut palm reaches the adult stage, it can produce between 50 and 100 coconuts each season.
Few fruits provide as many health benefits as coconuts. You can drink the water it holds inside, you can eat the fresh pulp, and you can get oil, butter, milk, and flour. Besides, coconut sugar is extracted from the flowers of the palm tree.
Nutritional Composition of the Coconut
Coconut is very rich in calories. In 100 grams of the fruit, there are 350 kilocalories. Thus, its consumption should be moderated in people with excess weight and in those who are following a weight loss diet.
Fat, mainly saturated fat, is its main component after water. Saturated fatty acids make up 88% of the total, and therefore their caloric value is the highest of all fruits. It is low in carbohydrates and even lower in protein.
But coconut is rich in mineral salts such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium, which are involved in our bones’ mineralization.
Magnesium is linked to the functioning of the intestines, nerves, and muscles and is part of the teeth. Phosphorus participates in energy metabolism.
Potassium is necessary for the transmission and generation of the nerve impulse, regular muscular activity, and the balance of water inside and outside the cell.
The coconut has a good content of vitamins C and E, with antioxidant action and some hydrosoluble vitamins of the B group, necessary for the proper functioning of our body.
As for other nutrients, it is rich in fiber, so it improves intestinal transit and helps reduce the risk of certain disorders and diseases such as colon cancer, improves immunity, and has a mild laxative effect.
Coconut Consumption and Conservation
Coconut water is the liquid inside the coconut, and the less mature the fruit, the more abundant it is, and the richer it is in nutrients. If you do not hear the typical splash of water inside when you shake it, it is because the coconut is dehydrated and not very useful.
To extract the water, locate the three eyes. The largest one is soft and easy to pierce with the tip of a knife or any sharp object. Fit the tip, turn, and the hole is opened.
After opening, it should be consumed the same day or stored in a sealed container for no more than five days. Shredded coconut can be stored for eight weeks inside the refrigerator.
A simple method of removing the pulp is to wrap the coconut in a kitchen cloth or a thick cloth napkin. In this way, it can be broken up against the floor without dispersing the fragments throughout the room. The ripe pulp can be eaten raw, whole, grated, or roasted.
The oil is suitable for frying because of its stability. It is usually in a solid-state until heated and can resist high temperatures when cooking. The melting point is at 360°, so it can be used without problems. As it is saturated fat, it is more stable than some unsaturated vegetable oils, such as sunflower oil.
The flour can be used not only in confectionery but also in yogurts or smoothies. It provides a delicate coconut aroma plus an extra dose of fiber, valuable fatty acids, and protein.
Coconut butter is an excellent substitute for dairy butter, especially when it is used with sweet ingredients. It can also enrich smoothies or add flavor to many recipes. It should not be used for frying, because the fiber gets burned.
Coconut milk is perfect for making fruit smoothies and giving an exotic touch to sauces, pastries, and soups.
Other Uses of Coconut
As it has softening properties and its oil is an excellent skin moisturizer, it is used as an ingredient in creams, suntan lotions, shampoos, soaps, oils, lipstick, and other body hygiene products.
Tasty and Nutritious Recipes with Coconut
1/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup grated coconut
2 cups of coconut milk
1 ounce of sugar to caramelize
- In a bowl, beat the eggs with 1/4 cup of sugar.
- Add the grated coconut, beat, and add the coconut milk.
- In a non-stick skillet, caramelize 1 ounce of sugar over low heat.
- Pour the hot caramel into the flan mold and let it cool.
- Add the flan mixture to the caramel and cover it with aluminum foil.
- Bake in a bain-marie for 45 minutes at 350 º.
Coconut Chocolate Muffins
3/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cups of chocolate
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup of wheat flour
1 cup grated coconut
- Mix the coconut oil with the sugar, add and blend the eggs one by one and then add the vanilla extract.
- Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and add it to the mixture.
- Finally, incorporate the mixture into the flours and pour it into a greased and floured mold.
- Bake at 350º for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool, cut, and sprinkle the grated coconut on top.
Breaded Shrimp with Coconut and Mango Sauce
20 jumbo shrimp without skin but with tail
1 cup of flour
2 beaten eggs
1 cup grated coconut
3 cups of cooking oil
2 cups of diced mangoes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
- Flour the shrimp, shake off the excess and dip it in the egg and then in the grated coconut. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat, fry the shrimp until golden brown. Remove them, and place them on paper towels to absorb excess fat.
- Blend the mango and season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Serve the shrimp on a platter and place the mango sauce in a saucepan in the center.