Yes, Yes we all know about Pina Coladas but Coconuts are so much more ....

Young Green Coconuts are great for Pina Coladas.

The coconut sold in Supermarkets throughout Australia are de-husked, hard, brown (stone like) ripe coconuts or young, unripe, green coconuts, still with a little husk remaining. Sold and located in our produce departments. Queensland and Northern Territory dwellers are fortunate to have a temperate to hot climate where coconuts thrive. Though coconuts are not native to Australia, it has generally been accepted that the coconut originated in the Indian-Indonesia region and float-distributed itself around the world by riding ocean currents. 

We now see them on all of our beaches in the North, this is partly due to the Old Government having a Coconut Tree plantation on Brampton Island many moons ago. We are still fortunate to come across many coconuts on the island beaches we sail to, and quite often we can harvest these if we are not in National Parks. Brampton Island

Under the husk they are a brown nut full of nutrition. Once the husk is removed the brown shell has three eyes at one end. Inside is a further thin, brown, coat called the testa: the creamy-white, firm flesh of the coconut is attached to this. The middle of a coconut is hollow and filled with a sweet liquid known as coconut juice or coconut water. The testa of a coconut hardens as the coconut ripens. Where as young, unripe, green coconuts have white flesh still soft and jelly-like with a slightly more ‘milky’ water (this liquid is not coconut milk or coconut cream).

A young coconut should make a sloshing sound when shaken and feel heavy for its size. A mature coconut should also feel heavy and contain liquid. Avoid any that have sunken eyes or cracks.

  • Coconuts should be stored in a cool place, be it the pantry, fridge or freezer because low temperatures suppress infection by micro-organisms, to which coconuts are prone. 
  • Freezing changes the consistency of the coconut, actually making the meat softer and easier to process.
  • For dried (shredded) coconut, it is best kept in an airtight container in the fridge once opened. A jar with a re-sealable lid works perfect to keep coconut fresh and handy. 
  • A young green coconut should be eaten within 2-3 days. 
  • A fully ripe coconut will last a couple of months. 
  • Pieces of fresh coconut flesh should be kept refrigerated. 
  • Coconut water can be stored up to 24 days in refrigerated condition at 5-7 degree centigrade. Store coconut cream/milk in the refrigerator for no more than a week. It can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Opening Coconuts is not easy and requires great care. Of course we have all seen how the Pacific islanders open them with a very large machete and sharp spike. But as galley cooks unless we have Rambo out on deck we need a more sedate way of accessing the flesh.
  • After husking. Place a whole mature coconut shell in a preheated oven at 180C 4 for 15 minutes. This will help shrink the flesh from the shell. 
  • To extract the water, place the coconut in a bowl to hold it upright. 
  • Use a drill (clean the drill piece first) to bore a hole in two of the eyes. 
  • Turn the coconut upside-down and drain the water into a slightly smaller bowl. 
  • To split the coconut into two halves, either hold the coconut in one hand and firmly strike around its circumference with the back (not the blade) of a heavy knife or cleaver. The coconut should naturally break in half. 
  • Alternatively, place the whole coconut into a strong plastic bag, take it ashore and hit firmly against a rock. Use your natural caveman skills.
 This is a great skill to have Ernst on Middle Percy Island shows us how

Cracking open a whole coconut and the payoff is the beautiful fresh, round flavor that walks the line between savory and sweet. Fresh coconut gives haunting, rich depth to Southeast Asian, Indian, and Jamaican curries and stews and adds texture and nutty sweetness to fruit salads, cakes, and cookies. Add coconut milk or cream to soups, curries, yoghurt or desserts. Use freshly grated coconut in curries and creamy puddings, or lightly toast it with spices and use as a seasoning. Desiccated coconut is made from the dried, white flesh (copra) of the coconut. Use in place of freshly grated coconut. It is also delicious added to meringues, cakes, biscuits and cream tarts, for a gorgeous tropical flavour.

Coconut meat is rich in vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous, source of potassium. It's high in saturated fat, but natural coconut oil enhances your immune system, improves digestion, helps the body absorb minerals, and improves your overall cholesterol ratio. The thin brown skin is edible and high in fiber. Coconut juice is just about the best source of electrolytes around--the balance is identical to what's in our bloodstream. For more information

Let's look at a few culinary benefits arising from this humble seafaring nut. One of the best things about cooking with coconut is it’s versatility. It can balance sweet, savoury, spicy, salty — you name it, coconut can handle it. Here are a few ways of cooking with it, whatever its form.

How to make coconut cream and coconut milk.
  • peel away the brown skin from the white coconut flesh 
  • place the flesh into a food processor with some hot water. 
  • Blend thoroughly, then squeeze the mixture through some muslin or a clean tea towel into a plastic, china or glass bowl (coconut reacts to metal) and set the liquid aside for 20 minutes. 
  • The coconut cream will float to the top of the milk and can be spooned off the surface. 
  • This process can be repeated to make extra coconut milk. 
  • One coconut yields about one cup of coconut cream.

Coconut Water .... Naturally refreshing, coconut water has a sweet, nutty taste. It contains easily digested carbohydrate in the form of sugar and electrolytes. Not to be confused with high-fat coconut milk, coconut water is a clear liquid in the fruit's center that is tapped from young, green coconuts.
  • Mix chilled coconut water with a few splashes of ginger beer and a squeeze of lime for a tasty tropical drink.
Fresh Coconut water was added to our Wild Goat
Stew Middle Percy Island.

Coconut Milk ..... can be used as a lactose-free, vegan milk substitute in countless capacities: stir it into your coffee, whip it into cream, add it to baked goods, or make it into yoghurt. And if your diet excludes dairy, you may just be surprised by how smooth and creamy dairy-free ice cream can get. 
  • Seafood loves all things coconut milk. Seriously, it's a major love affair—the kind that spans ceviches and curries, noodles and stir-fries. 
  • Combine it with curry paste and use it to steam mussels. 
  • Coconut milk on its own might make a pretty unmemorable dipping sauce, but add in some sweeteners or savoury spices and it's a whole different story. We like it simmered with red curry paste until thickened and then livened up with lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, honey, and fish sauce makes a great dipping sauce. 
  • Or change tacks entirely and boil it up with sweetened condensed milk, butter, and a pinch of salt for a sticky-sweet sauce perfect for drizzling on any sweets. 
  • Yes, yes, we all know about Pina Coladas, but coconut milk's great for so much more. But what about using it in an invigorating breakfast shake sweetened with maple syrup. 
  • Have a juicer or blender .... Throw in ginger, lime, mango, and pineapple mix it with coconut milk and ice for a summer drink.

Coconut Oil.... Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil is so good because: Coconut oil is high in MCT's, rich in lauric acid. When used with a complete and healthy balanced diet, coconut oil can help boost your metobolism Great for baking, frying and using in every aspect of cooking food A perfect natural alternative for skin and hair and your pets. For more information

Before you learn how to cook with coconut oil, it’s helpful to understand a few facts about this fat. 
  • Unlike most vegetable oils, coconut oil is solid at room temperature. 
  • Coconut oil will melt at 22C.
  • Depending on your location coconut oil may likely be liquid unless refrigerated.  
  • To avoid the need to hack away at your coconut oil you can simply melt it and pour it into ice cube trays. Silicon trays are great for this you can just push them out. Refrigerate the coconut oil until it’s solid. Pop the coconut oil cubes out of the tray and store them in an air tight container.
  • Coconut oil has a high smoking point of 250C This makes it optimal for almost all cooking. If you’re deep frying I suggest using sustainable sourced palm oil, which has a high smoke point.

Coconut Meat .... is high in fibre, with one cup containing 7.2 g, which is more than 20 percent of the recommended daily amount for most adults. For more information

Here are some great ways to enjoy the coconut meat.

Toasting helps bring it back to life, giving it a fresher, crispier, slightly chewy texture. Baking coconut also brings out its natural oils, making it toasty and delicious.

The first method is to spread shredded coconut meat on a baking sheet and bake in the centre of the oven at 280C stirring every two minutes for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Immediately transfer the toasted coconut to a plate to halt it from toasting further in the hot pan. Sprinkle coconut strips over oatmeal or granola, or toss them with nuts and dried fruit for an easy-to-eat and satisfying sailing snack.

The second way to toast coconut meat is on the stove top. This method is often preferred, as you can watch it turn golden and immediately remove it from the heat once it’s toasted to your liking. For this method, preheat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add coconut and heat, stirring often until coconut is golden brown. Remove from heat and scrape onto a plate. Store toasted coconut at room temperature in an unsealed container for up to one week.

and for a twist

Bread it...... Instead of panko or bread crumbs, try coconut! It’s a great with seafood or chicken, and can handle being baked or fried. 
  • Shred the coconut meat.
  • lightly toast it and then pulse in your food processor until you have a bread crumb consistency. Use this crumb as you would Panko or bread crumbs.

for more information on Coconut Products we recommend

NATURE PACIFIC is a joint Australian-Fiji company specialising in the development of certified organic and ‘organically grown’ Island products and traditional remedies that have been part of daily life through out the Pacific for centuries.

Our Galley does not receive any money or products from Natural Pacific we recommend them because we believe in their products.


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