The Illustrious Coconut


December 17, 2012

Care of Amy Symington 

You don’t have to live in the South Pacific or get stranded in deserted paradise to enjoy and benefit from this tasty fruit. The coconut is considered to be in the drupe fruit category and comes from the coconut palm or “tree of life”, as it is often referred to for all its parts’ versatile uses. Its uses are nuts. If we are chit-chatting about the coconut’s nutritional goods you may be pleasantly surprised.
It is relatively high in fibre, iron, phosphorus and zinc. It has fewer calories than other oils, supports nutrient absorption and is full of antioxidants and antibacterial agents. However, the white flesh does contain approximately 90% saturated fat. Coconut contains fat and although it does have some great health benefits it should be treated and used as a fat, in moderation, until conclusive evidence proves otherwise. In addition, be sure to avoid coconut products that contain hydrogenated oil as they are then classified as a trans fat, which is not friendly for the old ticker.
For either the practical or indulgent culinary use, this “nut” can be cracked so many different ways, we would be listing them until Gilligan returned from his island. However here are a few anyway, just to wet your appetite:
  • Fresh or dried coconut is perfect for sprinkling, rolling or garnishing almost anything (hot chocolate, donuts, coconut crusted anything)
  • Coconut oil is ideal for cooking, baking, creating delicious raw vegan treats or rubbing on your skin (Thai dishes, fruit crumbles, salad dressings, wintery days)
  • Coconut milk is famous in curries and desserts (green curry, pudding, gelato)
  • Coconut cream is a sinful substitute for regular cream (pie, cocktails, ice cream)
  • Coconut water is rich in vitamins, electrolytes and antioxidants (after workouts, in smoothies, on a hot day)
  • Coconut flour is a great alternative for baking (macaroons, muffins, cookies)
  • Coconut sugar has a low glycemic index and an extremely high nutrient content, and can also be fermented into a type of alcohol (for diabetics, coffee/tea sweetener, blender drinks)
  • Coconut leaves are great for both culinary and non culinary uses (wrapping and steaming rice in, making brooms, building roofs)

So, if found lost in paradise surrounded by coconuts be sure to 1) build yourself a thatched hut using the coconut’s trunk and leaves, 2) stay hydrated and energized with coconut water, 3) sport a coconut bra, 4) sit back while you ferment yourself some coconut sugar for a tasty cocktail, and 5) avoid getting rescued because it doesn’t get much better than this. Go Coco-nuts!

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition