Cooking Tips | 20 May 2016The Power of Raw Coconut! Share article facebook twitter google pinterest From the meat of the coconut to the water, and even the oil, the uses and benefits to fresh, raw coconuts are endless. Buying the coconut whole and raw is the best way to ensure you will get the most out of this super fruit. Now, when you first see a coconut whole, it may be a bit daunting; where to begin? Luckily Going Raw takes you step-by-step through the proper usage of an entire coconut. Enjoy! Raw Techniques Using Coconuts Two popular types of coconuts are available at most health food stores and Asian markets: the iconic, fuzzy brown coconuts and young Thai coconuts. Young Thai coconuts are white, husked coconuts with cut, cone-shaped tops and are usually sold wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerated produce section. Mature coconuts have very thick, dry meat and little water, while young coconuts have a small amount of soft meat and contain 1 to 1½ cups (235 to 355 ml) of water. look for ones with a soft, spongy husk and no dark, purple spots or cracks on the bottom. only young Thai coconuts are used for the recipes in this book. coconut water is very high in potassium and other electrolytes and is a great alternative to sugary sports drinks. You can add it to smoothies or blend it with a handful of spinach to make a sweet and frothy workout recovery drink. coconut meat will last for three days in the refrigerator or indefinitely in the freezer. Health Benefits of Coconuts Coconuts have a long list of health benefits, thanks to the presence of lauric acid, a precursor to monolaurin that acts as an antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial agent. Coconut oil in particular is excellent for skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis when taken internally as well as applied externally on problem areas. Coconut oil: ? Is helpful in killing viruses that cause influenza, herpes, hepatitis, and measles ? Is helpful in killing bacteria that cause ulcers, gum disease, and throat infections ? Is helpful in killing fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, and athlete’s foot ? Reduces the production of LDL, “bad” cholesterol ? Is rapidly burned by the liver in the form of glucose ? Increases metabolism ? Boosts the immune system ? Reduces inflammation and aids in tissue repair ? Improves digestion and the absorption of vitamins and minerals Materials Sharp knife Cleaver Fine-mesh strainer Large bowl Rubber (or silicone) spatula Paring knife NOTE: Make sure your knife and cleaver are very sharp, and be extremely cautious when handling them! Opening the Coconut 1. Use a sharp knife to remove the husk from the top portion or “cone” of the coconut, exposing the brown nut (a & b). 2. Turn the coconut on its side and hold firmly from the bottom. With the heel of a sharp cleaver, aim for the outermost part of the exposed nut and give it a firm whack (c). It may take a few tries, depending on the coconut. Note: Stay focused when using a cleaver. Do not raise your arm above your head or expose your fingers anywhere near the target. 3. Once you have the heel firmly in the nut, turn the coconut on its base and lift the cleaver to create a flap (d & e). This will happen naturally—the crack will always create a perfect circle. 4. Pour the coconut water through a fine strainer before using to remove any shell pieces (f). 5. The water should be clear or slightly cloudy and sweet. If it is purple, pink, or cloudy, or if it smells off, you should discard the entire coconut. Always do a taste test before using coconut water in a recipe. Store the coconut water in the refrigerator and use it within three days. Scraping Coconut Meat 1. Use a rubber spatula to scrape out the meat (g & h). Depending on how young the coconut is, you will have meat ranging from very gelatinous to thick and firm. 2. Remove any bits of shell with a paring knife (i). 3. Slice the meat with a sharp knife (j). Firm coconut meat is great for making into noodles and coconut jerky, while the softer meat is great for sauces and smoothies. Judita Wignall discovered the healing power of raw foods after health challenges made her reassess her diet and lifestyle. Her passion for great-tasting food, holistic health, and wellness brought her to Living Light Culinary Arts Institute, where she became a certified raw food chef and instructor. Judita is also a commercial actress, print model, and musician from Los Angeles, California. In between her many projects, she continues to teach classes, coach, and personal chef for clients around the country. Learn more at http://www.rawjudita.com. Recipe excerpted from Going Raw: Everything You Need to Start Your Own Raw Food Diet & Lifestyle Revolution at Home by Judita Wignall (© Quarry Books, 2011) Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.