The term "coconut powder" is used to describe several coconut-based food products: dehydrated coconut milk, coconut flour or finely shredded coconut meat. These products are used in different ways in various recipes. Individuals who are interested in purchasing coconut powder should read product descriptions and nutrition labels so that they understand exactly what it is they are buying.
Recipes in many types of cuisine call for coconut milk as an ingredient. In addition, some people enjoy beverages made from coconut milk and might drink it in place of dairy milk. Although it is possible to make coconut milk at home, this is a time-consuming process. Instead, many people choose to purchase coconut milk in cans or in powder form. The advantage of using dried coconut milk over canned milk is that a cook can spoon out exactly as much coconut powder as is needed for a particular recipe without wasting leftover canned milk. Coconut milk powder might be blended with additives to ensure that it maintains its powdery texture.
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Some companies sell finely shredded coconut and label it as coconut powder. The texture of this coconut is not always powdery, however. Shredded coconut is used in a variety of recipes, including baked goods such as breads, cakes and cookies. Recipes for various types of chocolate candy might also make use of shredded coconut powder. Finally, shredded coconut is often called for as a breading for fish, seafood and chicken.
Coconut flour is another type of coconut powder that provides an alternative to grain-based flowers. This flour is made by removing most of the liquids and fats from coconut meat and then milling it finely. The result is an off-white powder that looks like wheat flour but typically smells like coconuts.
This type of flour can be used in many recipes that call for standard flour, but when using coconut flour, cooks must take care to use a significant amount of fat and liquid with this high-fiber product. The advantages of using coconut flour over other flour types are numerous. Individuals who have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance can consume products made with coconut flour, because coconuts do not contain gluten. In addition, coconut flour is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, which can make it a good choice for individuals who are on low-carbohydrate diets or who otherwise need to restrict their carbohydrate consumption.