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A derivative of the flesh of the coconut, creamed coconut is a key ingredient in many forms of cooking. The product is distributed in the form of solid blocks, which are formed by grinding the coconut flesh down to a white, semisolid paste. Creamed coconut is a different product to the liquid coconut cream, although both possess strong coconut flavors and are commonly used in Indian and Asian cooking. By adding to warm water and simmering gently, creamed coconut can be made into coconut cream or milk.
The seed of the coconut palm, a coconut features a hard outer husk with a firm meat layer inside. The actual seed is hollow and contains a clear liquid known as coconut water. The coconut is utilized in its entirety in areas where it is grown. Coconut water can be drunk in its natural form or processed to create alcohol, the fibrous husks of the seed are used to make a variety of furnishings, and the meat, or flesh, is used in a variety of dishes.
In Western society, creamed coconut is used mostly in a range of confectionery and ice creams. It is used when reproducing traditional Indian or Asian dishes and is commonly available in supermarkets and specialist food outlets. The block of product is chopped or shaved and added to dishes to give a strong coconut flavor, which can balance the spiciness of companion ingredients.
There are many other products that are formed from the meat of the coconut seed. Milk can be produced by filtering warm water through the grated flesh of the coconut or by simmering creamed coconut; this allows the aroma and oil from the meat to pass into the milk. The oil of the seed is utilized for frying and also in perfumed products such as soap.
The coconut contains a high level of sugar, and the water from within the husk has been used for emergency blood transfusions during World War Two. Virgin coconut oil can also assist in reducing cholesterol levels. The meat of the coconut is known to be a food allergen, and in India, the food actually occupies a position in the top five list of most common food allergies. This is most likely due to the popularity of the meat in that area as coconut allergies are recorded as being considerably lower in locations where the food is less commonly consumed, such as the United States and United Kingdom.