Desiccated coconut can be the perfect ingredient for amazing recipes. Whether you opt for the sweetened or unsweetened version, you need to have a jar of it in your kitchen. Before you learn how to make desiccated coconut it’s important to know a bit more about it.
What is desiccated coconut?
Some people confuse desiccated coconut with shredded coconut. However, they aren’t the same ingredients. Shredded coconuts and long thin strips derived from grating the white meat of the coconut. Even after you dry them, they contain more moisture compared to desiccated coconut.
On the other hand, desiccated coconut has the texture of a powder since it is finely ground coconut meat. You can think of it as dry coconut powder. Since it has a powdery form, individual bits and particles have less volume compared to shredded coconut and hence hold less moisture. Moreover, despite the appearance of coconut flour, desiccated coconut isn’t the same since it doesn’t lose the fat content of coconuts.
How to make desiccated coconut?
There are several tools and utensils you may require for this recipe. Depending on the method, your selection of tools may vary. However, these tools and utensils are commonly available in most homes and you shouldn’t have a problem gathering them or getting them from your nearest hardware store. Things like a knife, hammer, spoon, screwdriver, etc.
Draining the coconut
Opening the coconut is probably the hardest part of making desiccated coconut at home. However, you don’t want to waste that delicious and sweet coconut water. So, it’s best to drain it out for smoothies, cocktails, or raw consumption later on. Place the bit end of a clean screwdriver on one of the three eyes of the coconut and make a hole through it by lightly hammering the screwdriver.
Once you pierce the coconut, you can make a cleaner hole by twisting the screwdriver before taking it out. Put a strainer or cheesecloth over a clean bowl and let the coconut water drain through the hole. If the water doesn’t come rushing out, shake the coconut and poke more holes if necessary. You can drink the refreshing water instantly or pour it in a bottle and store it in the refrigerator to use oi different drinks later.
Opening the coconut
Now comes the hardest part. Keep the drained coconut on your table or countertop and hit the coconut at the midsection as you twist it. When the coconut develops large enough cracks, you can peel it open by hands or use the screwdriver to make your job easier. If you don’t want to use any tools, you can wrap the coconut in a cloth bag and bang it on a hard surface to crack it open. It’s crude, yet satisfying.
If you want to preserve the hard coconut shells as bowls, you have to be a bit more careful. Mark the rim of the bowl by tying a string on the shell. Get a handheld saw and cut your way along the string to have perfectly clean-cut coconut shells that can be used as party bowls.
Bring out the meat
You can use a knife or spoon to gently peel out the fresh coconut meat from the shell. It’s time-consuming at the beginning. However, once a bit comes off, you can easily make your way around the rest with your knife within seconds. You can also buy specialized coconut tools like coconut scraper to extract the meat from the shell. Even when the meat is extracted, it will have a thin brown skin on it. You can peel that away with a veggie peeler and give it a final rinse before you desiccate the white meat.
Prepare the meat
If you want shredded coconut, you can use a regular grater and shave away the meat. Depending on the desired texture, you can grate it on small scales. Medium or large sharp sections of the grater. If you don’t want to turn it into the desiccated coconut, it’s best to avoid small sections with ultra-fine holes.
For desiccated coconut, you can use small sections of graters that are typically used for spices. Grating the meat on fine holes will give you the desired powdery texture. You can also chop the meat into smaller pieces and throw them in your food processor or blender for a few rounds. Pulse it around and check the texture till it turns into a fine powder. A spice grinder works equally well.
Dry the coconut
One of the easiest ways to dry coconut powder is with a dehydrator or an oven. Place the desiccated coconut on a tray with a single layer of a baking sheet and let it dry in your oven for around an hour at 60 degrees Celsius. Since coconut powder dries quickly compared to shredded coconut, you should check on it at the 30-minute mark and shake them up a bit before putting the tray back in the oven. When you dry coconut at this temperature, it retains all the nutrients and fat without getting toasted.
A dehydrator will get the job done within 6 hours or less at around 40 degrees Celsius. It’s better than the oven method since you can dry the coconut with less heat. You can also go all-natural and dry it at room temperature if you live in a warm and dry climate. However, it will cost you patience, a lot of it.
You can use the unsweetened form of desiccated coconut in numerous dishes. There are several recipes with coconut powder like coconut biscuits and desserts (muffins, barfis, and laddoos) that also use the sweetened version. However, making desiccated coconut at home is a challenging and time-consuming task. You can take the easier route and buy Desiccated Coconut Powder from Coconutty at a competitive price without compromising on quality. It’s low in fat, high in fiber, and low in carbs so that you can make delicious vegan and gluten-free dishes that don’t make you cheat on your diet.