The period of Lent has begun and our desserts for these days will be fasting. In our first fasting article we will discuss coconut milk, learn the history and nutritional value of coconut and make a light cream with with only four ingredients coconut milk and semolina, along with cherry jelly.
First we have to highlight the tree on which the coconut grows. This is the coconut tree, which is a member of the palm family. The coconut tree is often confused with the palm, but as we have learned, they are two different species of the same tree. There are generally several types of palms, which have the same leaves. Coconut tree is the most common type of palm in the world. However it grows in tropical and subtropical places with high humidity. Coconut trees are strong trees and long-lived, as they can reach a hundred years old.
Coconut is the fruit of the coconut tree. It has a hard outer shell and inside white meat and water. Milk and coconut cream are produced from the meat, while coconut oil is produced from the kernel, meat and milk. We read that the oil contains high levels of saturated fat and its consumption is not recommended.
We read in detail about how coconut milk is produced: the meat of the coconut, the white part, is rubbed and soaked in hot water. Coconut fat goes up. The rest of the liquid is passed through a sieve and gives us coconut milk. Coconut milk does not contain lactose, so it is suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. It is also preferred by those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet and can be used in fasting recipes.
Coconut milk is a complete nutritional product with preventive and healing properties. It is a balanced drink with a high content of essential nutrients – carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Coconut meat is extremely nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals such as iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Unfortunately, when we buy canned coconut milk, many of the nutrients are lost… In the Greek market one will find the thickest canned coconut milk for culinary and confectionery use and a more watery refrigerator drink, which is a substitute for milk.
We learned that coconut milk contains significant amounts of fat, but unlike other nuts, it contains fat in the form of lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid, which is converted into monolaurin in the body, with antiviral and antibacterial activity. And, as medium chain fatty acids are easy to absorb and use by our body, they are ideal for digestion, energy and weight control.
M.Sc dietitian-nutritionist Mersy Kouskou compares coconut milk with cow’s milk, and finds that coconut milk has half the calories of cow’s milk. However, coconut milk does not contain protein and is very low in carbohydrates compared to cow’s milk. Therefore, coconut milk is a good substitute for those who are fasting. The rest of the year the choice of milk is related to our dietary priorities and individual needs.
Coconut milk is widely used in Asian cuisine for its tropical flavor. It can add flavor and texture to a curry or soup, and it can replace milk in sweets with creams or become ice cream. Use your imagination and make delicious, tropical plates. We, with a little research on the internet, singled out these:
As for the history of coconut, it is related to overseas travel and colonization, as shown in the map below. We learned that today coconut palms are grown mainly in South Asia, Polynesia and Malaysia. We found the name “coconut” to first appear in the 15th century when Portuguese explorers found the abundance of coconuts in the countries of the Indian Ocean. These trees spread from India to East Africa and from there European explorers took them to the west side of Africa and from there to the American Continent.
Another thing we learned about the characteristics of coconut is its ecological character. Coconut trees need very little water, energy and fertilizer to grow. Small coconut tree crops help maintain the environmental balance. The large network of roots that coconut trees have prevents soil erosion and carbon sequestration.
Having learned everything about coconut and coconut milk, it’s time to use it. We made an easy recipe, with just four ingredients -a coconut cream with cherry jelly.
Η συνταγή μας
Coconut cream with cherry jelly
|Coconut milk + water||400 ml + 300 ml|
|Cherry jelly||one package (15 gr)|
How to make coconut cream with cherry jelly
First make the cherry jelly following the instructions on the package (mix 300 ml of boiling water and add another 300 ml of cold water). Leave it aside to drop its temperature, not in the fridge because it can be stabilized.
To make the coconut cream, put the coconut milk together with the water in a saucepan to boil. If you take a can and open it and see that it has separated into liquid and cream do not worry just mix them well in the pot or use a hand blender.
Once the coconut milk starts to boil, add the sugar and gradually the semolina. Stir constantly until it acquires the creamy texture. Remove and leave the cream to cool for a while and fill your glasses. Then put them for a quarter in the fridge to thicken the cream more.
Once the creams have cooled, pour the jelly on top and put your glasses in the fridge until the jelly stabilizes.
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