When it comes to the coconut tree, it seems like its uses are endless. There are many great products coming out that make use of different parts of this magnificent plant. It’s no mystery why this palm tree is considered to be one of many “perfect foods”.
The Coconut tree is a member of the palm family and referred to as “The Tree of Life” in many indigenous cultures around the world. Mainly because almost every part of the plant can be used for health remedies as well as delectable culinary delights.
In the Indian Vedic tradition coconut is used in sacred ceremony and considered a divine plant for all of its healing properties and sweet goodness. Indulge in these sacred offerings from mother nature:
1. Coconut Palm Sugar
Yes, sugar is sugar. However, this form of sweetness, made from the sap of the coconut palm, is said to be more nutritious and lower on the glycemic index. Use in recipes as a great substitute for other processed sugars. Try Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Crystals for your sweet tooth fix, that is less likely to spike your blood sugar.
2. Coconut Liquid Aminos
For those who don’t consume soy products, this is a great way to flavor dishes instead of soy sauce. It has a slightly sweeter flavor (which I love), and can be used in any recipe calling for vinegar or soy sauce. My favorite is Coconut Secret Liquid Aminos (when you’re feeling saucy).
3. Coconut Water
I know I’m not the only one who thinks it looks super cool when drinking from a coconut with a straw…right? Coconut water is the new (or more like original) super-hydrating gatorade for athletes and health fanatics alike. With its high concentration of electrolytes, low calories, and 4 times the potassium of a banana – coconut water is flying off the shelves (with good reason).
4. Coconut Oil
The uses for coconut oil are innumerable! It’s been used for centuries to improve the health of the skin, hair, the brain, joints, heart, immune and digestive systems in every culture that coconut palms are prevalent. The oil from this giant drupe is definitely in the superfood category.
Lauric acid, the medium chain fatty acid (MCFA) found in coconuts is a unique saturated fat, which is found in mother’s milk. It helps to promote and support a healthy immune system in growing babies. Coconut happens to be the highest source of lauric acid in the plant kingdom.
I think there may be over 1,000 uses for coconut oil listed on the Internet. From deodorant to toothpaste and externally as a moisturizer to internally for a health boost.
5. Coconut Milk
This is my new favorite addition to smoothies. Coconut milk is a great milk and soymilk substitute and is used in many popular curry dishes. Coconut milk has been said to calm the nerves, strengthen bones, regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol, relieve arthritis, and is great for the skin and hair.
6. Shredded Coconut and Coconut Meat
Adding shredded coconut to dishes gives it a chewy crunch and sweet depth of flavor. I’ve even tried coconut chips that are surprisingly delightful. Try sprinkling these into your baked goods or atop a salad to give it a tropical feel.
One of my kid’s favorite desserts consists of scraping out the coconut meat and sprinkling on cinnamon (that’s it!) Coconut meat is high in those ever popular medium chain fatty acids, fiber, manganese, copper and potassium, so get your scoop on!
7. Coconut Cream
Coconut cream is a culinary delicacy, in my opinion. It can be used in any recipe calling for heavy cream. It offers lots of good fiber, a high mineral content, and is rich in B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin E. You can use it like a whipped cream or place a dollop over some fresh berries..mmm.
8. Coconut Vinegar
Similar in composition to Apple Cider Vinegar, the coconut’s fermented vinegar may be the new “healthy” vinegar. With high sources of minerals and amino acids, and low glycemic index – makes it a good choice for diabetics. Use it in salad dressing or taken as a pungent shot for great health.
9. Coconut Flour
The flour from the coconut is perfect for baking and as a substitute for grain flours for the strict paleo. The flour is light and fluffy and doesn’t have the hard or chewy texture you would expect from a grain-free dessert.
Here’s one of my favorite recipes that is chocked full of delicious coconut. It’s a real crowd-pleaser for everyone in the family too!
Raw Coco-Nutty Macaroons
- 1 Cup Shredded Coconut
- ¼ Cup Organic Coconut Meal (flour)
- ¼ Cup Organic Almond Meal (flour)
- ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (or coconut butter)
- 2 Tbsp Grade B Maple Syrup (you can also use melted coconut sugar/nectar)
- 2 tsp. Organic Vanilla Extract or powder
- 1 Pinch of Sea Salt
- Combine the almond and coconut flour and shredded coconut in a bowl (you can use a food processor or your hands).
- In a different bowl, combine the maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and sea salt – mix together.
- Combine both mixtures (all of the ingredients) with hands to form macaroon dough.
- Use a tablespoon to scoop the dough and form small balls by rolling in your hands.
- You can either put the balls into a food dehydrator for about 5-6 hours or simply put them in the fridge and enjoy!
Makes about 12 cookies.
10. Coconut Butter
I can seriously eat this stuff straight out the jar. Use as a spread on toast or atop your favorite muffin, or simply eat from the jar. The yum factor is off the charts!
The coconut palm is officially my new favorite tree. From root to fruit (or drupe), the healing properties of this tree are countless. It’s easy to see why it has been revered through the ages as a food staple and precious, sacred offering.