The Coconut belongs to the Palm family (Arecaceae). Spanish explorers named the cocos – meaning ‘grinning face’, because of the three little eyes on the base which they thought resembled a monkey. Let us discuss- How to Prepare Coconut Milk and Its Health Benefits.
Classed as a fruit and frequently confused for being a nut, the coconut is actually a one-seeded drupe. Coconut tree gives all that is necessary for living’ because nearly all parts can be used, the water, milk, flesh, sugar and oil. Even the husks and leaves are used as materials in furnishings and decoration. Coconuts are produced up to 13 times a year and although it takes a year for the coconuts to mature, a fully blossomed tree can produce between 60-180 coconuts in a single harvest.
Coconut flesh (the white part) is grated and soaked in hot water. The coconut cream rises to the top and can be skimmed off. The remaining liquid is squeezed through a cheesecloth to extract a white liquid that is coconut milk. By repeating this process, the coconut milk becomes thinner. The thicker version is used for desserts and rich sauces. Thin coconut milk is used for cooking curries and soups.
Did you know..?
Coconut water has many health benefits, especially in treatment for acute diarrhoea. Research suggests the clear liquid has the same electrolyte balance found in isotonic drinks, proving useful for rehydration or after long periods of intensive exercise.
Nutritional Value of Coconut
Unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose free so can be used as a milk substitute by those with lactose intolerance. Coconuts are highly rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. It is a popular choice with vegetarians and makes a great base for smoothies, milkshakes or as a dairy alternative in baking.
Coconuts contain significant amounts of fat, but unlike other nuts, they provide fat that is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs) in particular, one called lauric acid. Lauric acid is converted in the body into a highly beneficial compound called monolaurin, an antiviral and antibacterial that destroys a wide variety of disease causing organisms. It is therefore now thought that consumption of coconut milk may help protect the body from infections and viruses.
MCFAs are rapidly metabolised into energy in the liver. It is thought that unlike other saturated fats, MCFAs are used up more quickly by the body and are less likely to be stored as fat. This does not exempt them from contributing to heart disease – they are still a fat – but they have a different effect than saturated fats.
How to Store Fresh Coconut Milk
The high oil content makes coconut quickly turn rancid if not stored under proper conditions. If you are able to get fresh coconut milk be aware that it goes bad very quickly and should be used the same day as pressing.
This article originally appeared on BBCfood with additional citation from and reference from Us.
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