Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Coconut or Just Plain Nutty

♫Oh, I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts,
There they are all standing in a row.♫

Okay, I didn't have a bunch and coconuts cannot stand on their own, but fresh coconut meat makes a lovely little snack. Last week, my doctor gave me the news that I have a less than 3% chance of developing thyroid cancer. He went on to commend me on my recent dietary changes, even though he had originally said nutrition has nothing to do with auto-immune diseases. And then he iced my lovely little gluten-free cake by saying, "I do not recommend surgery at this time, and probably not for a very long time to come."

So, I did what every farm girl does when she finds she's not dying. I bought some coconuts!

Now, I realize that not every farm girl would think to buy fresh coconuts, but with my new lease on life, I decided it was high time I learned how to open one. Knowing that I'm not dying anytime soon (I tend to wallow in the melodramatic when it comes to health issues), leads me to believe that there's still a chance I could be marooned on a tropical deserted island somewhere in the South Pacific.

If you can't find me, look here. On second thought, give up the search...I'm not leaving!
 And in the event that this were to happen, and I had a hankerin' to bake a coconut cake over a fire in an abandoned tortoise shell, I will have the skills necessary to remove the meat from the husk. Assuming, of course, that the coconuts actually fall from the trees, since my new lease on life did nothing to alleviate my fear of heights. (I'm not worried about flour, butter, or sugar...the island will provide all I need. Including toilet paper.)

Since my Mister is fearful of having to patch people up on his days off from the emergency room, he gladly took over the job of hacking into the coconut. There are a lot of You Tube videos that show how to open coconuts, but this guy shows how to safely remove the meat from the shell too. Any of the soft brown skin left can be removed using a vegetable peeler.

Once the coconut is free from husk and skin, rinse it well and dry it with paper towels. Fresh coconut won't last long outside of its protective shell, so unless you plan on eating it all, dehydrating the meat is a good way to save the rest.  (One coconut yielded approximately 3 cups of coconut meat, before we ate a cup's worth.)

I used a box grater and grated each piece over the large holes.

After all the coconut was grated, I lined my dehydrator rack with a silicone mat and laid the coconut out in a single layer. It took 2 of my round trays. To dehydrate, set the temperature to 95F., which is the lowest setting on mine. In 8-10 hours the shredded coconut will be dry and can be stored in a lidded container until ready to use.

Although, Madison thought fresh was best.

Until I mentioned coconut cake and tropical islands.☺

*Don't throw out the coconut water or the husk! Coconut water can be added to smoothies, baked goods, or over ice. The husks are great for lining the bottom of garden planters or can be added to the compost pile.


Jaclyn Hicks said...

Glad to hear all is well, and that you celebrated with coconuts! What a wonderful answer to prayer!

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Glad things are looking up for you healthwise! Now about that coconut milk...send it my way it makes wonderful soap. Love the pic of your little one by the way

SweetLand Farm said...

Glad to hear that your well health wise!
I love coconut, any way! I like to drink the milk. I've never thought to dry it myself though. Good idea! Enjoy your coconut!
And tropical islands always sound nice!

Susan said...

What a relief! That is very good news. And, nutrition isn't connected to auto-immune diseases? Really? I have never tackled a coconut. I will just enjoy yours (virtually...)!

Candy C. said...

I am sooo glad you got good news from the doctor!! YAY!! Fresh coconut sounds like an absolutely wonderful way to celebrate! :)