The humble coconut was once the preserve of a privileged few who had the funds to purchase this curious nut and enjoy the treasures contained within. Even then, it was primarily lauded primarily for culinary value, rather than any additional benefits.
In recent years, however, the coconut has enjoyed a comeback, appearing in everything from body lotion to hair masks. It is advertised on every medium from health shops to social media. With so many variations and options, it can be tricky working out which products are best for you. To help you out, we have put together the ultimate guide to coconut products: happy shopping!
The holy grail of beauty editors everywhere, coconut oil is now almost far more famous as a skincare product than a cooking ingredient. Quality coconut oil, such as this coconut oil from Linbro contains primarily saturated fats at over 90 per cent of its total content, and this makes it ideal for increasing levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) within the body.
The bulk of these saturated fats also come from lauric acid, which helps the product to boast antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-parasite properties, giving it a reputation as a wonder drug for all ailments. Even better? It is delicious in almost everything and a great addition to any dish.
Coconut butter is often the forgotten cousin of the coconut world, but it is rapidly increasing in popularity. Made from whole coconut flesh, it includes the delicious fats from the seed and offers a sweet alternative to traditional butter products. Be careful when cooking with coconut butter; at high heat, the flesh will just burn rather than melt. A healthy dollop is the idea finishing point to make your curry that bit more indulgent.
A brilliant alternative to dairy products, coconut milk, is a delicious, low-calorie treat. It is made by combining shredded, fresh meat from the coconut with water, before squeezing the mixture through a cheesecloth or sieve. It is suitable for drinking and cooking, and may even replace tradition milk on your coffee before too long!
Coconut flow consists of ground up and dried coconut meat, and offers a low-calorie alternative to more traditional flours. It has a naturally sweet taste, so it is a good idea to make sure that any you purchase is unsweetened, or you risk the flavour overpowering the rest of the dish. One of the most common uses of coconut flour is as a sauce thickener, though there are a huge variety of recipes which contain this type of flour as a key ingredient.
In a nutshell, coconut cream is essentially coconut milk without the excess water. This gives it a much thicker texture which can be a better choice for some curry recipes. It can also be used to add weight and thickness to sauces or allow you to enjoy a creamier, more indulgent paste or sauce.