I’m thrilled to my toes today! Our guest post is from my friend Justyn. Justyn is the voice behind Creative Christian Mama where she blogs about tons of great information from herbs to homeschooling, crafts to marriage, and home birth to gardening. If you haven’t been there, be sure to pop in and be prepared to stay awhile – once you get there it’s impossible to leave!
If you’ve been around, you’ve heard me go on and on about my love for a particular hairy, brown fruit – coconut (yes, it’s technically a fruit!) Today Justyn is sharing some great ideas on different ways to use it. . .
When I first learned about the health benefits of coconut, I was pretty excited that something so delicious was also healthy! Then, however, I realized that I had no clue how to incorporate it into my regular food. The only thing I knew was that some people like to add coconut oil to their smoothies. Tried it. Ended up with big clumps of rock-hard oil stuck in the straw. In the year-and-a-half since, I’ve learned many more effective and delicious ways to eat coconut every day!
Solid at room temperature, it only takes a tiny bit of warmth to melt coconut oil. It smells heavenly and is a very stable oil, so you don’t have to worry about it going rancid like many other oils. Check out all of the amazing health benefits, here!
- This has turned out to be my favorite fat for baking with! For most recipes, we either use all coconut oil or mix it half and half with butter. It works beautifully for pancakes, cookies, breads, muffins, baked oatmeal and more.
- Coconut oil is also my top choice for greasing pans and cookware. It goes on smoothly and nothing ever sticks.
- I’ve made mayonnaise with half coconut oil and half olive oil. Delicious! It’s nice and thick without getting too hard in the fridge.
We use coconut water directly from the young coconuts, most of the time. You can also buy pasteurized and packaged coconut water (I don’t think it tastes very good). Just the other day, though, we made a great discovery! There is now raw coconut water available in the cooler cases at some healthfood stores! It’s *almost* as good as the fresh version!
- The liquid straight out of a young coconut is so scrumptious! It’s full of electrolytes (no “rehydration drinks” for us!), so we love to have it around when we know we’ll be needing to boost our hydration. During my homebirth with my second baby, my sweet hubby slaughtered a couple of young coconuts so I could sip on their water… Loved it!
- Coconut water is also a great medium for making lemonade or limeade. Just use it in place of regular water and you’ll have a hydrating and delicious tropical drink to keep you cool in the heat!
The shredded meat of the coconut is delicious and very versatile. I’ve added it into recipes for a little nutritional boost and it’s always a hit for flavor. We keep ours in a jar in the fridge, to maintain the fresh flavor.
- This is what we now use in our smoothies. It doesn’t clump up the way that coconut oil does, and it gives such a yummy hint of coconutty flavor.
- It’s also wonderful in many types of desserts, such as sprinkled on ice-cream, mixed into chewy coconut balls and added to cookie dough.
- I like to add a scoop of shredded coconut into our oatmeal, too.
I don’t buy canned food, for the most part. I really wasn’t crazy about canned coconut milk (even “organic” canned foods have some pretty suspicious things in them), so I was ecstatic to discover that I can make my own! There are a few different methods, but the easiest way I’ve found is to put a scoop of shredded coconut in the blender and pour a cup of warm/hot water over it. Blend for several minutes, then strain. Chill and use.
- Yum! Use this for smoothies or chocolate “milk” as a good non-dairy substitute.
- Don’t forget to try it in savory dishes, such as curries, seasoned rice or creamy soups.
- Some people like to make up a batch of coconut milk to drink straight as an alternative to dairy. I’m not crazy about it, but if I couldn’t drink raw cow’s milk, I think it would be a good alternative.
We just made this for the first time last night. I confess, I wasn’t crazy about it at first because I was expecting more of a coconut flavor. When I thought about it like a nut butter, though, I liked it. To make, just put shredded coconut in a food processor and let it go until it’s a peanut butter texture.
- Use in place of nut butters, such as in sandwiches or on toast.
- We’re going to try a scoop in smoothies, just like we do with peanut butter.
I have a package in the freezer, but I haven’t tried it yet. My understanding is that if you use coconut flour in place of regular flour in a recipe, you need to add the same amount of liquid to keep it from being too dry. I plan to try to make some brownies with coconut flour, soon.
We also use coconut oil for external uses, such as an easy salve, a base for homemade sunscreen and in the tub for dry skin. It’s a great moisturizer and it helps to fight any type of yeast overgrowth on the skin.
These days, we almost always have at least one coconut product a day, and often more. When I’m needing an energy boast, I try to have a good dose of coconut oil and some of the meat (shredded coconut). It always helps! I’ve also noticed that my milk supply for my baby is higher when I consume plenty of coconut. I hope you’re inspired to include more coconut products into your daily life, too!
Justyn has been married for ten years and is the mama to two beautiful little girls. She is always in the middle of at least one creative project and she’s constantly researching new topics. So far, you can read about her adventures in homebirth, parenting, crafts, real food, herbs, homeschooling, marriage and gardening. Head on over for a visit at Creative Christian Mama or her Facebook page.
Shared With: Flour Me With Love, The Healthy Home Economist, Nourishing Treasures, Real Food Forager, Chef in Training, Time-Warp Wife, Far Above Rubies, Vintage Wanna Bee, Growing Home, Cooking Traditional Foods, Deep Roots at Home, Women Living Well, Frugally Sustainable, The Gluten-Free Homemaker, Authentic Simplicity, Whole New Mom, Raising Homemakers, Kelly the Kitchen Kop, This Chick Cooks, A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa, A Delightful Home, The Nourishing Gourmet, Our Simple Country Life, Comfy in the Kitchen, Your Thriving Family, Little Natural Cottage, Real Food Freaks, Real Food Whole Health, Food Renegade,