Coconut – A Healthy Snack

Working with the Coconut!

Growing up as a kid we watched Gilligan’s Island nearly every afternoon and watched the coconut eating castaways create all kinds of dishes from this Tropical fruit.  It was not until recently however, that I actually purchased a coconut to try on my own.  In doing some food research, I have been reading about the health benefits of coconut and how it can help you maintain or lose weight.  Yes, that’s right, basically the fat in coconut metabolizes quicker than other fats and raises the metabolic rate.  It also fights fungus and viruses.  That’s some good news.  Spend a few minutes researching this food on sites that are dedicated to coconut, I was pretty impressed.

I love the taste of coconut, but my husband doesn’t, so it’s on the “don’t sneak that ingredient into my food” list. But being in a rebellious mood I picked a whole coconut that when I shook, sounded like it had a fair amount of liquid in it and brought it home – where it sat on my counter for three weeks.

Note – The liquid in the coconut determines the maturity – younger coconuts have lots of liquid and the meat is softer, coconuts with less liquid are more mature and have firmer flesh.  When you crack it open, the flesh should be bright white.

Finally, screw driver and hammer in hand, I placed the screw driver (Philips) on one of the “eyes” and hammered until I broke through to liquid, then did the same on one more eye.  That allowed me to pour the liquid out easily and – well, it wasn’t the best, but I found after refrigerating it wasn’t bad.  From what I’ve read, it’s like nature’s Gatorade and is loaded with electrolytes so I drank it.

On to the meat!  Make it easy on yourself, put the coconut in a double lined plastic bag and slam it against the sidewalk or a rock, it will break into pieces after a few good whacks.   Rinse the pieces of any shell fragments.
To remove the meat, some say to scrap it, but I found that it chips out easily.  Using a sharp knife slice into the meat and then twist the knife slightly, the piece will pop off.  You need to do this with fairly small slices.

Don’t worry about the brown “skin” side of the coconut meat, as long as there is no shell fragments still attached, you can eat that.  Once you have removed all the meat, store it in the fridge covered and it should keep about 7 days.

If it is not sweet enough for you, try this – add to a non stick pan with a splash of good vanilla extract and a touch of honey.  Saute to bring out the sugars and caramelize slightly.  You only need like a couple teaspoons of honey for 1/2 a coconut and maybe 1 tsp of vanilla.  Of course adjust this to your own liking.

Breaking the coconut
Sauteed with honey and vanilla
Slice in the shell then “Pop” out
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