The coconut is an exotic and delicious tropical fruit (sometimes referred to as a nut or seed) that might have originated from around Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. When still on the palm and untouched, a coconut has 3 layers: the exocarp (outer skin), the mesocarp (middle layer), and the endocarp (layer that surrounds the seed. When we see coconuts in the supermarket, however, only the endocarp is not removed.
The parts of the coconut have varying culinary uses. Coconut oil comes from the seed, and is used for cooking and frying. The snowy white part of the seed, known as the coconut meat, can used in desserts, dried or fresh. Coconut chips are now sold to tourists in the Caribbean, Hawaii and some other tropical regions. The dried coconut meat is often used in sweets such as candy bars. Coconut butter is a term used for hardened coconut oil, but is also be used for foods made from coconut oil, meat, and milk. Coconut flour has also been developed for cooking and baking.
Coconut water and coconut milk are often mixed up as the same thing, but they are not. Coconut water is the clear liquid inside young coconuts, and is a popular drink in the tropics, such as the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands, and India. Recently, coconut water has been used in sports drinks, because of high potassium and minerals.
Coconut milk is far different from coconut water. Its made by either by pouring milk or water through grated white coconut, or by simply pressing grated coconut. It can be refrigerated, and when settled, coconut cream will float to the top.
The coconut’s various parts produce even more products such as nectar, which will be discussed more deeply in another article, as well as more information on coconut milk, water, and other foods.