Coconut

Coconut

By
Anna Bergenström, Fanny Bergenström
Contains
13 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781742702070
Photographer
Fanny Bergenström

Coconuts and coconut peaks

The wind rustling through the palm trees, the gentle sway of the hammock and a cool, refreshing coconut in your hand… It’s hard to think about coconuts without picturing a tropical beach paradise. But to us, coconuts also bring to mind the luscious old-fashioned coconut balls from Augusta Jansson’s legendary confectionery factory in Stockholm, or the juicy coconut peak biscuits from our favourite café. Not to mention all the wonderful food memories from travels in countries where coconut is a staple of the local cuisine.

The coconut palm, Cocoa nucifera, plays an extremely important role in the tropics, where the nuts are consumed fresh as well as manufactured into a range of foods and beverages, including coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut milk, baked goods and drinks… The actual palm tree and its leaves, as well as the coconut’s brown inner peel and fibres, are used to make everything from fuel, timber, roofing and furniture upholstery to woven baskets and trays, rope and other household utensils. The coconut palm is simply indispensable.

Coconuts are picked by hand …

The coconut itself is not a nut, but a stone fruit or drupe. Its outer green husk holds a fibrous shell, and in its centre lies the hard, brown edible seed. The hollow seed contains coconut water, which is at its best when the coconut is young. That’s when the coconut flesh is very tender, almost jelly-like, and marvellous to enjoy fresh. Once the coconut is fully ripe, the flesh becomes harder and perfect for grating.

Desiccated coconut is dried, mature coconut flesh that comes finely shredded or in larger flakes. Desiccated coconut is primarily used for baked goods and sweets, but is also great in certain salads and savoury dishes.

Coconut milk is obtained by soaking and straining ripe coconut flesh. The sweet milk adds a smooth taste to curries, soups and desserts, and is an essential ingredient in South-East Asian cuisine.

Coconut cream is a thicker variety, which adds a rich, velvety texture to the dish.

Creamed coconut consists of small, semi-solid blocks made out of fresh mature coconut. Mix it with water to get coconut milk or coconut cream.

Coconut oil and coconut butter are actually the same product; pure coconut oil is liquid when warm, but turns solid and opaque at temperatures below 25°C. After suffering from a bad reputation for some time, coconut oil/butter is now regarded as a very healthy source of fat.

Coconut water is the clear liquid inside young coconuts. It’s a popular drink in the tropics, and is sold both fresh and tinned.

Coconut palm sugar is derived from coconut blossom nectar. It has a smooth caramel taste that rounds off both savoury dishes and desserts beautifully. Coconut palm sugar is sold granulated, as a soft, sticky paste, or in coarse blocks that can be grated or crushed. Generally speaking, palm sugar usually refers to sugar extracted from several varieties of palm trees.

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

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