When creating raw food recipes, the young coconut is a healthy substitution for many of the dairy products that we have eliminated. Raw food is traditionally vegan. Coming up with recipes that remind us of the traditional recipes that call for cream, butter and cheese requires creativity with the ingredients that we do use, such as nuts and coconut.
Coconut flesh, coconut oil and coconut butter are healthy substitutions. Recent research as found that the saturated fat contained in coconut actually protects against heart disease, stroke and hardening of the arteries. Coconut oil contains large amounts of lauric acid which is the main fatty acid found in breast milk. Lauric acid strengthens the immune system and protects against viral, bacterial and fungal infections. You can read more about the health benefits of coconuts here.
What kind of coconuts do you use for the recipes? I use young Thai coconuts. They are coconuts in the earlier stages of development. (See above picture). You can find them at co-ops, Whole Foods, Asian markets and online. Recently I found a site that has great prices for fresh, organic young coconuts. I have not ordered any from here but wanted to let you know about the site. The owner wanted me to let you know that sometimes it might take a week or two to get your order because they ship as the coconuts become available. The link is: Florida Coconuts.
What is the difference between coconut oil and coconut butter? Coconut Oil is pressed out of the coconut flesh either by centrifugal force ( unrefined, virgin coconut oil) or the cold pressed method. Coconut Butter is coconut oil plus coconut solids. It contains the oil and the flesh of the coconut.
Opening Coconuts: When I first started experimenting with raw foods, I was intimidated by coconuts. I had no idea how to open them. I tried a tree saw, a huge cleaver and various knives. Every attempt was finally met with success but only after some pretty scary moments and fear of removing body parts. Then, I stumbled upon a video showing the correct way to open a young coconut. Honestly, it is so easy, I couldn’t believe how much stress I had previously put myself through.
Trim excess husk from pointed top of coconut.
It will look like this.
With the bottom edge of your knife, strike the coconut towards the top.
Continue to strike the coconut around the top until you have reached your starting place.
Lift the lid, pour out the water (save it as it is quite good for you) and scrape out the flesh with a spoon!