Coconut is a commonly used ingredient in a variety of food recipes. The white, fleshy part of the fruit is used to prepare various delicious dishes such as ice cream, cake, cookies, pie, and several other recipes. It is also used to make gravy for a number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.
Coconut milk is obtained by processing a grated coconut. It can be used to prepare a variety of mouth-watering preparations. However, fresh coconut is perishable and may not be available every time. In such cases, desiccated coconut is a very good alternative. It is finely grated, dried, unsweetened form of coconut, obtained by drying shredded or ground kernel.
It is used as a substitute to raw grated coconut in confectioneries, desserts like puddings, cookies, cakes, pastries, and other food preparations.
Making Desiccated Coconut
Desiccated coconut is used commonly in various industries like confectionery and bakery products, frozen foods, food service, and consumer products. It is prepared and preserved by removing the natural moisture in the fruit. It usually contains about 3% of moisture, and is produced from the white part of fresh, mature coconut kernel. The white part is disintegrated or shredded into desired sizes such as flakes, granules, chips, or shreds.
Then it is dried in hot air at 50-55 degree centigrade. It is available in toasted, sweetened, or sweetened and toasted forms. It also comes in two variations such as low fat (maximum 50% fat) and high fat (minimum 60% fat). It is available in a number of stores and grocery shops in the market. However, you can make it at home on your own.
You will require:
- Bag of shredded coconut or 1 fresh coconut
- Fine grater
- Baking sheet
If you have a bag of shredded coconut, then you can directly start the procedure. If you have a fresh fruit, then you will have to prepare the coconut before drying it. Cut a fresh coconut into half; remove its husk and pour out the coconut water. Using the fine grater, grate or shred it.
Place the shredded coconut onto a baking sheet. You should spread a thin layer on the sheet. Avoid clumping together, as it will prevent coconut from drying.
Heat the oven to 250°F. Place the baking sheet with coconut inside the oven, and bake over low heat for about 5-10 minutes. The duration required for dehydration depends on moisture content, and the size of grated shreds. During dehydration process, you need to pay attention and check the status frequently. Once it has dried completely, it will be brittle to touch instead of creamy. That is when you remove it from the oven.
Transfer it to a bowl. If you require a fine powder for some particular recipes, then crush the coconut shreds using a spoon against the side of the bowl. Or, you can grind the dried coconut in a food processor to obtain a coarse or fine powder.
Desiccated coconut is the best way to get all the nutritional benefits of coconut all year round. So, make various delightful recipes and enjoy the goodness of coconut!