What is Shredded Coconut?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Shredded coconut consists of thin pieces of coconut, usually sold in dried form. It is also possible to shred coconut with freshly grated coconut in a blender, but not everyone has access to fresh coconuts. Typically packages or bulk shredded coconut are differentiated from flakes of coconut which tend to be wider by a few centimeters or so.

Shredded coconut.
Shredded coconut.

Cooks use shredded coconut in a vast number of recipes. It can easily be a topping of simple sandwiches like peanut butter and honey, it can add to the taste of baked goods, or it can lend extra flavor to savory foods like curries. Certain cookies and candies could not be made without this ingredient, and coconut cake usually contains the shredded form in the cake and the frosting.

Shredded coconut is made from the meat of a coconut.
Shredded coconut is made from the meat of a coconut.

In stores, shoppers may find two varieties of shredded coconut. These may be sweetened or unsweetened. Which one is appropriate really depends on recipe. Most savory recipes wouldn't benefit from sweetened forms of coconut pieces, and a sweet recipe may be too sweet if it calls for unsweetened coconut. It’s really a matter of choice when using coconut for toppings and people should try both to see which one they prefer.

Along with sweetened or unsweetened, shoppers at natural foods stores may additionally have a choice between organic and non-organic coconut. Organic varieties tend to be more expensive because organic growing methods may produce lower yield crops. Yet, some people believe they are superior for nutritional reasons and may be of slightly higher quality.

Shredded coconut from stores may be treated with chemicals in order to keep it moist. Other brands eschew chemical treatment and will produce much drier forms of coconut. When this is the case and cooks have purchased untreated versions, they may need to soak the coconut briefly to bring back some its moisture content. When making fresh shredded coconut at home, it isn’t necessary to soak the coconut.

Yield of the typical size coconut is about three to four cups of shredded or grated coconut. In stores, packaging size for dried forms ranges. Both packaged and freshly prepared shredded or grated coconut should be refrigerated. Some people freeze fresh shredded forms and it may be possible to find frozen versions, especially in Asian grocery stores. Since this version is not dried, many feel it is superior to packaged store-bought forms that aren’t frozen.

It may be possible to find frozen shredded coconut, especially in Asian grocery stores.
It may be possible to find frozen shredded coconut, especially in Asian grocery stores.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

GenevaMech

There is a definite link between coconut and weight loss. Incorporating coconut and its oil into ones diet can be very beneficial to one's health. The body converts coconut oil to energy very quickly and can help to increase a person's metabolic rate. Coconut oil also has lauric acid, which helps to regulate blood sugar, and boosts the body's immune system. Coconut oil is still a fat though, so like any fat, it should be used in moderation. Of all the fats though, coconut oil is one of the healthier fats that the body can assimilate rather quickly.

parmnparsley

One of my favorite recipes for shredded coconut is coconut carrot cake. I always add about a cup of organic shredded coconut and a can of crushed pineapple with the juice to the batter. The cake always comes out super moist, and the extra liquid provided by the pineapple juice creates an extremely moist cake with caramelized edges. It is an extremely rich tasting cake and the coconut adds a great deal of fiber (about 1 gram per tablespoon). I make the cake every year for thanksgiving, and it is always a hit. I serve the cake warm with a spoon of fluffy cream cheese frosting on top.

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