Going Loco for the Coco!

Coconut MeatCoconuts are clearly a handy, easily accessible ingredient around here and deliver quite a few useful options: coconut water, coconut milk, coconut cream, cream of coconut, coconut oil etc.

Looking at a coconut, it’s hard to figure out how that hairy brown bowling ball makes its way into a Piña Colada or any other cocktail. Cream of coconut is how! Here’s where the confusion sets in … is that the same as coconut milk?  In fact, cream of coconut isn’t even the same thing as coconut cream.

Incredibly Versatile – Coconut Food Products:

Here’s a short list of the different by-products from our friend, the coconut – and the many ways to use them.

Coconut Water

Coconut water:

Split open a coconut and the juice you’ll find inside is coconut water. You wouldn’t use it to sweeten a drink, but it can be an interesting substitute for water in punches, a hangover life-saver and a great hot day, golf course companion.

If you play golf at one of the two Jack Nicklaus Punta Mita golf courses, you can ask one of the gardeners to cut open a coconut for you.  Stick a straw in it and you’ll have the freshest, most hydrating drink you can imagine.

Coconut water has become a popular hydrating (and hangover) beverage of late, although it is very different from anything you’d want in a Piña Colada.

It’s also good for you.  It aids digestion, boosts hydration and can even help you lose weight! Read 8 Benefits of Coconut Water to learn more.

Coconut milk:

This is usually made by cooking equal parts coconut and water and straining through a cheesecloth.

Since coconut milk is the basis of Thai curry, you’ll see cans of it anywhere you can buy Thai food ingredients in the U.S.  It is also readily available in Mexico.

Coconut milk is not typically used for cocktails but can be substituted for a lighter drink. It has the consistency of dairy milk – there’s even a cream that rises to the top.

Coconut milk also has many health benefits, including reducing inflammation and better blood sugar control.  See Coconut Milk Nutrition — 9 Benefits + Recipes for more information.

Coconut cream:

Coconut cream is thicker and richer than coconut milk. You could use coconut cream in cocktails, but it isn’t as sweet as you’d expect.

It can be the cream that rises to the top of a can of coconut milk or the product that comes from simmering four parts coconut with one part water. Here’s more on how to make coconut cream and some delicious recipes using coconut cream.

Cream of coconut:

This is the one you use in cocktails like our Punta Mita Piña Colada.

Coconut Butter:

The basis of many tropical sunscreen and beauty products, it can be slathered on your body whilst on the beach drinking the Piña Colada made with cream of coconut.

Coconut Oil:

The Versatile Coconut TreeCoconut oil has been recently heralded as one of the most healthful fats in the modern pantry. Doctors and chefs alike are finding dozens of ways to incorporate this incredible ingredient into our daily lives. It is wonderful for sauteeing or frying as it has a high flash point. Pour it onto salads for a tropical tang, make mayo, bake with it and spread it on your toast in the morning.
Beauty tips abound for its use from taming flyaway hairs and tropical frizz (Ever experience that on a beach vacation?) to rubbing onto the souls of your feet at night. Here are 101 Uses for Coconut Oil to give you some ideas.

Coconut Meat:

And, let’s not forget the tasty meat of the coconut. Coconut holds a privileged place in many recipes such as macaroons, coconut shrimp, coconut cakes, coconut cookies and so much more. Allrecipes.com has over 1300 Coconut Recipes featuring this delicious, versatile fruit.

But, there’s nothing quite like the water from a fresh, young coconut to quench your thirst on a hot summer day. Be sure to give it a try on your next Punta Mita vacation.

See you in Paradise!
Miguel

Miguel Neves de Carvalho Bon vivant, gastronome and all-around great guy – Miguel Neves de Carvalho brings you the best of what Punta Mita and the surrounding area have to offer. His passions include polo, horse riding, rugby, cigars and most recently … golf.

Miguel lives in Punta Mita with his youngest son, his fiancée, Lisa, and his two dogs “Tanqueray” and “Tonica”.

He started Punta Mita-Rentals in 2012.

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Photography by Kemi Vernon. See more of her work at www.kemivernonphotography.com