How to toast coconut flakes is really a very simple process. My favorite appliance for toasting coconut and any kind of nut for that matter is the toaster oven, though of course you can use a regular oven if that is all you have available. While it is a simple procedure it is easy to burn the coconut flakes if you do not watch carefully. The coconut flakes can finish toasting in as little as 2 minutes so this is not one of those projects you want to leave. You’ll want to keep a close eye on them the entire time they are toasting or you will end up throwing out a lot of blackened coconut; believe me, I know.
Standard Oven Method for Toasting Coconut
Preheat oven from around 325-350 degrees. You know if your oven runs hot and if you want your toasted coconut flakes to be darker or lighter so choose the temperature accordingly.
Spread the coconut flakes in an even, single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Watch closely checking every couple of minutes. And when I say to check the coconut flakes every few minutes I really mean every minute or two, not 5-10. If you are toasting large amounts of coconut or just want the toasting to be more even then you can stir the coconut once or twice while it is toasting.
Toaster Oven Method for Toasting Coconut Flakes
In the toaster oven you can set it to bake at the same temperature as above with the added benefit that it will heat up quicker because it is a much smaller space or you can just use the toast feature like you would use for toast. My toaster oven comes with a small tray and rack that fit perfectly in it. Remove the rack, spread an even layer of coconut on the tray, insert it into the toaster oven and press the “toast” button. It will be slightly different depending on your appliance but whatever you press to make toast is what you want to do. You still need to watch it very closely but it seems to go much quicker than in a regular oven.
A coconut cake mix can make it so easy to create a yummy and delicious dessert in no time. There are quite a few different brands and variations available just at your local grocery store. But since you are searching online for it you obviously either are like me and you live in a rural location and just prefer to buy everything by mail. (That is why I love Amazon so much, especially since you can usually get free shipping as long as you spend at least $25 which is not hard for me to do at all, unfortunately) Here are several of the different coconut cake mixes available right now. While I certainly will occasionally use a cake mix for the convenience, I usually try to make my cakes from scratch for the simple reason that boxed cake mixes are loaded with transfats and all kinds of funky ingredients whereas a coconut cake made from scratch can be made with ingredients that are easy to pronounce and that you likely have in your kitchen anyway.
Coconut Milk Powder can be a convenient product to use if you use a lot of coconut milk. The most common uses for coconut milk are in cooking ethnic foods and also as a dairy substitute. Many people try to avoid dairy products either due to allergies or sensitivities or to philosophical avoidance of animal products. Coconut milk can be a great substitute and coconut milk powder can be a great shelf stable way to have it quickly available. You’ll need to look carefully at each brand of coconut milk powder to determine which one will best suit your needs. When coconut milk is made from scratch it has nothing but coconut and water in it. A processed product like coconut milk powder often has added ingredients both for stabilizing the product as well as for flavor. The Wilderness Family Naturals coconut milk powder above, for example, lists maltodextrin from cassava root and traces of casein to help keep it from separating. If you have a casein allergy you will certainly want to avoid that one. On the Nestle website it lists the ingredients in the Maggi coconut milk powder as coconut solids, maltodextrin, modified milk ingredients, and sodium phosphate. So again, it looks like that may not be the best choice if you are trying to completely avoid dairy.
The following is an excerpt from the Wilderness Family Naturals website on how coconut milk powder is processed:
How is Coconut Milk Powder Processed?
Coconut milk powder begins with the pressing of the flesh of the coconut, just as described above. The fresh coconut cream has small amounts sodium caseinate (a dairy protein) added to help the oil stay emulsified with the water faction of the cream and a bit of malto-dextrin (non-GMO) added to help it flocculate (turn into a powder). These two ingredients are essential for processing and coconut milk powder cannot be made without them. Currently there is no coconut milk powder (AKA coconut cream powder) available anywhere in the world that does not contain these two ingredients.
The main difference between various brands of coconut milk powder is the amount of these two ingredients that are added. Many coconut milk powders contain up to 40% malto-dextrin. The more malto-dextrin the easier the powder dissolves in water and the cheaper it is to produce. In addition, a coconut milk powder that is high in malto dextrin tastes very sweet. Wilderness Family Naturals has chosen the coconut milk powder with the lowest amount of added ingredients and highest amount of coconut milk available.
Coconut Milk Powder is processed by spraying the coconut milk mixture into a vacuum chamber. As the milk falls down the long column chamber, it turns into very tiny flakes. This process reminds me of making snow. There is a little heat used in this column, so the powder is not considered raw, but the minimal processing does not destroy the coconut flavor, nor does it cause an of the side effects of heat such as browning or a toasted taste. The coconut powder is a beautiful white color and has a fresh coconut flavor. You will not be able to detect any signs of heating.
This makes it sound like all brands of coconut milk powder may have trace amounts of dairy in them. If you are one of those who needs to completely avoid dairy you have the option of finding canned coconut milk. Be careful, as some of these have added ingredients as well. The other option is to make your own coconut milk from dried coconut. Here is one way to do it:
Put 1 cup of boiling water along with eight ounces of dried unsweetened coconut in a blender. Blend for a minute or two and then strain through some cheese cloth, squeezing to get as much of the coconut milk as possible. Discard the pulp and store the coconut milk in the refrigerator for a few days. As a dairy substitute, some people like to add a touch of vanilla and maybe even some sweetener such as maple syrup.
I learned about coconut water nutrition while traveling through India with my 6 month old daughter. She was still breastfeeding but because of the extreme heat she needed more fluid replacement than breastmilk alone provided. All of the native women told me to give her coconut water. Not only would it be sterile (a huge bonus in a place where clean water can be difficult to come by) but I also learned that it is a natural sports drink; the coconut palm is the closest thing to a Gatorade tree you’re likely to find anywhere. Coconut water is loaded with electrolytes and is incredibly refreshing. It’s also quite the cultural experience; we usually bought our young coconuts from a teenage boy with huge bundles tied to his bicycle. He would use a huge knife to slice the top off just enough to put a straw through and when we finished drinking the surprisingly cold coconut water he would hack it open so we could eat the fresh coconut flesh. The flesh of a very young coconut is completely different from dried coconut flakes; it has a gelatinous almost slimy texture if the coconut is very young. This is one of those coconut products you really should familiarize yourself with.
Lets take a closer look at coconut water nutrition: here at one of my favorite sites, nutrition data, you’ll find in depth information on the nutrient content of coconut water. One cup of coconut water has 3 grams of fiber (what other drink has that besides one you add Metamucilto?), 2 grams of protein, as well as a spectrum of trace minerals.
While packaged coconut water isn’t nearly as good as fresh its better than nothing and certainly a better choice than some kind of human concoction such as Gatorade or worse, some high fructose corn syrup sweetened soda. And if you don’t mind paying a bit more you can actually get fresh young coconuts (with nutritious coconut water still inside) shipped to you. If you have just been learning about coconut water nutrition and have yet to give it a try, here is your chance to give it a go. I highly recommend it and this is one health food your kids might even like!
So I’ve been using desiccated coconut in my green smoothies the last few mornings as well as coconut oil. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a filling breakfast in my life even though it was in liquid form. In fact, I still have half a blender full of it in the fridge because I couldn’t even drink it all even though I had it for lunch as well. I’m trying to cut back on my dairy intake as I’m hoping that will help with some of my skin outbreaks but I really love anything with a creamy texture. So I’m trying to substitute the usual whole milk, cream, and full fat yogurt I’m used to using in my smoothies with coconut milk and coconut cream etc. But, to make things more complicated, I try to avoid using canned products as much as possible because of concerns over BPA as well as the heat canning process that denatures some of the nutrients. What I did this morning was put about 60 grams (since I went to Europe I use a kitchen scale for most of my cooking) of desiccated coconut in the blender with a few cups of hot tap water and let it soak for about 20 minutes. Then I blended it thoroughly before adding the rest of my ingredients (today I used frozen spinach, banana, OJ concentrate, fresh pineapple, a few frozen cherries, and 2 raw egg yolks from my pastured chickens). It was really creamy and tasty. That’s one of the great things about dessicated coconut is that it can be used to make coconut cream or coconut milk as well as being used on its own. And it has all of the coconut oil still in it; it is only the water that has been evaporated out. I looked it up to make sure but that is what desiccated means; to “remove the moisture from (something, esp. food), typically in order to preserve it.” That is according to Dictionary.com. It’s one of those strange quirks of English word usage–apricots with the moisture removed are simply called dried apricots but you never hear anyone talking about dried coconut; its always desiccated. We won’t even begin to discuss why dried grapes are called raisins and dried plums are called prunes.We’ll just take our desiccated coconut, whether it be flaked or shredded or chips and eat it and enjoy its nuttiness.
So what are the different types of available coconut products? Of course you have your basic coconut flakes, but even those may not be as basic as you thought. You can get unsweetened or sweetened, organic or conventional, heat treated or raw coconut flakes just to name a few possibilities. And while we’re discussing coconut flakes, is there any difference between that and shredded coconut or desiccated coconut or are they just name variations meant to consume the average coconut consumer? Then you have your coconut chips which are sort of like a super-sized coconut flake and coconut flour which is the petite version of coconut flakes. And those are just the dried whole coconut products.
In the tropics, fresh coconut products are consumed with much greater frequency than in the temperate climates of North America and Europe for obvious reasons. Young and old relish fresh coconut water and young coconut flesh as well as the many regional and savory dishes made from coconut such as curries and coconut rice. Many of these products such as coconut water and coconut milk can also be purchased canned in most parts of the world.
Once vilified as an evil saturated fat, unrefined coconut oil is recognized by many as a nutritional powerhouse used in the treatment of many ailments. Its less healthful refined counterpart is used for popcorn and in many processed foods. Applied topically, coconut oil is a great moisturizer as well.
Apart from its use as a food coconut produces many valuable byproducts. The hard outer and inner fibrous husks are used in everything from rope making to potting mixes as a peat alternative to garden mulches.
Add to all of these fabulous products the information products surrounding the use of coconut such as recipes, books, and equipment necessary for processing and using coconuts and you’ll understand why there is more than enough information for creating this Coconut Flakes blog.
Coconut Flakes will be a great place to come if you simply need to order some more coconut products or if you are looking for more information on recipes or diet or health issues related to coconuts. I’m so excited to start posting articles and share with you all the amazing properties and health benefits of coconuts. It should only take me a few days to purge all of this information in my brain onto the paper…er, computer screen? I’ve been reading about coconut both dried and fresh, and using it regularly in my diet for several years and I’m always looking for new ways to use it. Please feel free to chime in with your knowledge and insights here at Coconut Flakes.
While this crazy nut takes some time to get my own flaky ideas together, here are some articles from around the web to get you started.