Florida Fruits 2

Olivia surprised us with a visit yesterday, bringing some very interesting fruit from Florida (we’ll write about those in another post). But also brought us something we had never eaten — fresh coconut right off the tree!

Drilling a Coconut

There’s two reasons Jessica and I hadn’t tried fresh coconut: first we don’t live near palm trees; and second, we’re not big fans of coconut. However, as chefs, when you’re given a wonderful fresh ingredient, you use it!

Olivia’s mom managed to peel the coconut by hand! And Olivia had been instructed to drill through the eye of coconut. We used a cleaned 1/4-inch drill bit, then shoved in a straw. It was so refreshing. We drank the Coconut Water until no more would come out, then we poured the rest into a bowl and drank that.

Next I smacked the outer husk with the back of my 10″ chef’s knife and cracked the coconut into various pieces. Then I used a basic table knife (like a butter knife) to separate the meat from the outer husk. This was done by wedging the knife sideways between the meat and the husk, while resting the piece on a kitchen towel. This is a similar technique to opening an oyster. In an assembly line-like fashion, Olivia took over using the vegetable peeler to remove the inner husk from the meat.

Coconut Straw

We snacked on pieces of the fresh meat. It had an unbelievable taste. The initial bite had a very standard coconut sensation: fibrous texture and coconut milk flavor. But then, an incredibly rich aftertaste, like drinking heavy cream. It was remarkable; and I say that while admitting that I don’t care for coconut, usually.

I wanted to make coconut shrimp. But Jessica reminded me that usually dry, shredded coconut is required and fresh would be too moist. So then I decided to make some Coconut Milk. It’s pretty easy, although I used a slightly different process than standard. Rather than cubing the meat, I put it all in a food processor and shredded it. Then I transferred half the meat into a blender and filled it with room-temperature water and let it run for about three minutes.

I poured 1/3rd of the blender contents into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pressed it with a spoon. I tried to extract as much liquid as possible. Then I dumped the dried meat in a separate bowl. I repeated with the 2nd and 3rd parts of the blender. Then the whole process was repeated with the second half of the meat still sitting in the food processor.

Coconut Oil

And when that was done, I put all of the dried meat back in the blender, and filled with a bit more water and ran it again. Then I did it again. After I got all the meat and liquid out of the blender, there was a thick paste at the bottom of the blender. I was so surprised. Jessica informed me it was Coconut Fat (or Oil) — whoa!!! I had accidentally made coconut butter. I tasted it straight, it was sensational and I was inspired.

Coconut Milk

In the end we had three fantastic, totally separate products.

We had dried, ground coconut left with a very subtle coconut flavor. Olivia took this home to either use in cereal or as plant food. We had fresh coconut milk, which I used in two dishes that night. And we had pure coconut oil, which I also used. A separate post is coming on our coconut dishes.

Coconut Shreds

Woot woot for fresh coconut!

posted by Lon at 11:55 AM Filed under Basics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.