As New Year’s Eve approaches, many savvy imbibers are laying in a supply of Coconut Water, purported to be the best “morning after” pick-me-up on earth. Whether this is true or not, it does contain an array of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes, and has become wildly popular.
It is simply the liquid inside a coconut, sometimes erroneously referred to as coconut milk. More fun than consuming from a bottle is to sip straight from the source, perhaps from a street vendor in the tropics, or at markets all over the world, even in two mile high Cuzco, Peru.
In 1521, Antonio Pigafetta, the scribe on Magellan’s history making circumnavigation, commented about coconut, new to the Europeans: “From the center of this marrow there flows a water which is clear and sweet and very refreshing, like an apple.”
The origin of the coconut, whether from the Philippines or Asia or even the Americas, is still being debated. It is thought that earlier species were more buoyant than today’s, more easily transported serendipitously on the ocean currents. But there are also arguments that coconut dispersion occurred when people inhabited new lands and cultivated them.
Coconut milk, coconut cream and cream of coconut are all products derived from adding water to pulverized and squeezing out the liquid, the milk being the most watery and the cream of coconut, the least.
In the US, the best-selling brand of Cream of Coconut (Coco Lopez) is thick, has added sugar (as well as preservatives) and packs a whopping 130 calories per fluid ounce. It is also a critical ingredient in delicious Pina Colada, a mélange of said coconut plus pineapple juice and rum; if you have to ask about the (mega) calories, just order rum and diet cola.
Coconut oil has had a rebirth in popularity. It was believed to be dangerous, based on old studies that examined hydrogenated coconut oil. Pure coconut oil is reputedly healthy, and has a very high flash point, meaning that it remains stable at unusually high temperatures, making it good as a frying medium.
Of course, coconut pulp is an ingredient in lots of delicious foods, including coconut rice, which myMEGusta discovered in Barbados.
As for macaroons, she prefers the coconut variety over the currently chi-chi French macaroons made with almonds. And what’s not to smile about with coconut cakes and coconut cream pies! You can even get coconut milk ice cream.
There’s an urban myth that 150 people per year meet their end by being bopped by a falling coconut (more than are killed by sharks!). When digging into the subject, myMEGusta learned that this is a number someone made up. But, responsible coconut palm owners do keep their trees harvested, just in case.