With all the coconut oil being slathered on everything and coconut water being tossed back, it’s like we all forgot about the superfood’s main act—the coconut meat itself.
But not Meredith Baird: She’s the author of the reference for all things coconut, Coconut Kitchen: Nature’s Most Beautifying Superfood ($20).
In it, she sings its praises. “Literally, every part of the coconut has a use, whether in a culinary application, as a resource, or as a material for a variety of products,” she writes, and details the research showing off the fruit’s long list of superpowers, including potent antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
The book’s recipes cover the entire day, from a strawberry and coconut cream breakfast quinoa with rose water, a coconut matcha smoothie, a CBLT (coconut bacon, avocado, romaine and tomato) wrap with coconut mayonnaise to treats like a coconut-hibiscus panna cotta. There’s even a chapter on coconut ferments, including DIY coconut sour cream. The majority of the recipes are raw, vegan and gluten-free as well.
The final chapter details all the ways you can use coconut products to beautify from head to toe, including recipes that are good enough to eat (literally) like one for a coconut and honey body scrub.
We were blown away by Baird’s technique for making your own milk; it’s one of the book’s simplest and most versatile recipes. Learn this easy skill and keep shredded coconut tucked in your pantry, and you’ll never need to run out for a can to complete your curry recipe again. It’s also a wonderful way to make sure you are avoiding BPA-lined cans and unnecessary stabilizers.
- 2 cups shredded coconut (dried or fresh)
- or 1 cup young coconut meat
- 4 cups water (more or less*)
- Pinch of sea salt
- Scrapings from ½ vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 tablespoon coconut nectar or coconut honey or 2 dates (optional)
- 1 tablespoon lecithin (optional, to prevent separation)
- Blend all ingredients until smooth.
- Run through a fine mesh strainer to remove solids.
Fresh coconut milk lasts up to five days in the refrigerator and can last up to a week if sweetened with honey.
*When making this recipe, adjust the ratio of water to coconut according to desired consistency. The less water you use, the thicker and more cream-like the milk will be.