One of my earlier posts, Small Steps Starting with Coconut Oil, briefly discussed how versatile coconut oil can be. That is very true. But it doesn't stop there. Coconut in all forms can be used for many more things than as just a replacement for butter.
All you need to do is buy some unsweetened, preferably organic, shredded coconut, and you are well on your way to some delicious healthy items to stock in your kitchen. I'm sure there are more than just these three things, but for now I will be discussing coconut butter, coconut milk, and coconut flour.
The first, being the most simple, is coconut butter. All you do is to take a cup, or two, of shredded coconut, depending on the size of your food processor, pour it in and blend. What you are looking for is a whipped butter consistency. This process takes about 10 to 12 minutes. It might get somewhat soupy because of the heat created during processing. If it does become soupy, just stick it into a glass jar and place in the refrigerator. You can use your coconut butter pretty much like coconut oil, and can be interchanged in recipes alike. However, if a recipe calls for a specific one, make sure to use that kind for best results. Both coconut oil and butter are good for you, but the butter is a whole food compared to just the extracted oil portion. The butter, opposed to the oil, still contains all of the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein however, does have a stronger coconut flavor.
SEE ALSO: Small Steps Starting with Coconut Oil
The second scrumptious coconut treat is coconut milk. This is one of my favorites! All you do is bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Once there, turn off the heat and let cool for a minute. Then separate half of the water into a blender and the other half you can leave in the pan. Add 1/4 cup of your shredded coconut to the blender, and 1/4 cup of shredded coconut to the pan. Let the coconut sit in the water for about 15 minutes until it is slightly cooler and easier to blend. It can be dangerous to put a lot of hot liquid in a blender at once, so be cautious and don't put more than half a blender full at a time! Once the half in the blender has cooled, blend for 1 to 2 minutes on high. Then stain the liquid through a nut milk bag, or cheesecloth, into a large bowl. Drain/squeeze out the liquid. Save the coconut pulp and put aside. Repeat steps for the second half that is sitting in the pan. Once all liquid is strained, put milk into container of choice and place in the refrigerator to cool. If you want your milk to be sweeter, or of a slightly different flavor, try adding different things and placing back into the blender. I enjoy it when I add a little vanilla and a tablespoon or two of maple syrup. Yum!
Last, but not least, is the third coconut creation, coconut flour. You know that coconut pulp you set aside? Well, all you have to do is spread out the pulp onto a baking sheet, turn your oven on low (about 200 degrees F)and dry it out for about 10 to 15 minutes. The time it takes to dry out depends on how much liquid you squeezed out of it, and oven temperature variations. Once it is dried out, place in your food processor and blend until it has a flour-like consistency. Now you have coconut flour to use in recipes for baking! This is a no waste process, and a few bags of shredded coconut yields you three yummy and healthy food staples!