Last week, a friend (who is developing an interest in health foods) messaged me to say that she had bought a packet of dried coconut but didn’t know how best to use it. I replied with a list of ideas and she asked me to blog about the uses of coconut, for her and for others like her. So here it is…!

 

Coconut is an incredibly versatile fruit and we can use it in cooking, cosmetic products and for making all kinds of useful and decorative items.

Despite a high content of saturated fats, there are many claims that coconut – in any of its forms (raw, water, milk, oil, dried) – can be very beneficial for our health and beauty. These benefits include a high nutritional value, hydrating the body, helping to maintain a healthy digestive system, healthy bones and teeth, moisturising and anti-ageing properties… the list is long!

As we don’t yet have a ‘zero waste’ shop in my area, I buy big bags of dried coconut flakes and use them several times a week. Here are some ideas…

 

1. Sprinkle on cereal or muesli

Most days I make my own muesli using oats, nuts, seeds, fresh and dried fruit, including coconut flakes.

2. Add to smoothies

If you’re not overly keen on coconut but want to benefit from its goodness, try adding a little to smoothies. Whether you use coconut milk, fresh or dried coconut, it will give your smoothie a creamier flavour.

3. Add to salads, salsa and coleslaw

I’m obsessed with coleslaw and for a little something different, I like to make a fruity slaw using grated apple and coconut flakes. This is how I make it:

Alternatively, make a coconut salsa or sprinkle some flakes on your salads.

4. Sprinkle on curry

Top your curry with a sprinkling of dried coconut to soften the spice and for extra crunch.

5. Use in baking

Admittedly I’m not much of a baker, but having recently been given a vegan baking book I plan to change that! Dried coconut can be used to decorate cakes, while coconut milk, flour and sugar are great alternatives for those who avoid dairy, gluten or refined sugars and for those who simply choose a raw vegan diet. There is a multitude of recipes on the internet for baking with coconut.

6. Make coconut milk

Making your own coconut milk isn’t as hard as you might think as you only need 2 ingredients. Shop bought coconut milk often contains emulsifiers, stabilisers, salt and flavourings, so making your own is healthier.

 

What do you do with dried coconut?