Celebrating World Coconut Day

photo by tijana drndarski via unsplash

Yes, yes I did happen to go through one of those made-up holiday calendars and make note of the ones I found interesting. And no, they are not ALL Cat Days (although there seems to be at least one cat day pretty much every month). But perusing things that someone somewhere thinks merit holidays does give one opportunities to contemplate delightful topics such as World Coconut Day.

World Coconut Day is September 2, but like all of these made-up holidays, it seems like the kind of thing you could celebrate any old time. There is also a National Coconut Day on June 26; you could book-end your summer with coconut celebrations if you wanted to.

As a fan of the coconut, I decided that I would take advantage of today being World Coconut Day adjacent to learn some coconut fun-facts:

Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm. It is used for water, milk, oil, and meat (coconut kernel). Coconut milk, cream, and oil are all extracted from the kernel which is mostly fat.

The fat found in coconuts is a medium triglyceride (MCT) which is considered a type of good fat. MCTs are considered a good source of energy because they can be absorbed directly by the small intestine. Coconuts also contains phenolic compounds, which are antioxidants (substances that help maintain the health of our cells).

Coconut shell can be used to make an iconic bikini top substitute, drinking vessels, and other crafty things.  It can also be processed into charcoal. The fibrous husk can be processed into coir, which can then be used to make things like doormats.

Rhythm of Hawaii by Dole Foods (15570182163).jpg

photo courtesy of wikimedia commons

Did you know there is such a thing as coconut flour? I didn’t. But I learned that it is made from dried coconut kernel and is gluten free. And if you’re in the market for gluten free flour, you might be interested to know that coconut flour has less carbs and less fat than almond flour.

All of these coconut fun-facts got me thinking about my favorite coconut applications:

One of my favorite coconut products from my youth was classic Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil (which turns out was mostly mineral oil). It smelled divine and helped me achieve that tropical, golden glow.

In my early grown-up years, I parlayed my love of Hawaiian Tropic into an affinity for Malibu Rum. These days, rum is not my go-to spirit, but I sure do like Pina Coladas (and getting caught in the rain). I also love a Blue Hawaiian (when I can get my expert Tiki drink-maker neighbor to make one for me – hint, hint).

Of course, coconut cream pie is another of those coconut treasures that I can’t get enough of (even though it’s been two years since I made one – what am I thinking!?).

coconut cream pie

In our ongoing homemade ice cream venture, we are still working on perfecting coconut ice cream. Mr. Man’s special touch is adding toasted, salted coconut flakes to the coconut milk/coconut cream base (yum!). The problem is we are having a hard time getting a consistently creamy texture. My sister recently sent us an article about adding spirits to your homemade ice cream to help it stay softer. I may need to get myself some Malibu Rum!

How about you?  What are your favorite coconut applications? How would you celebrate World Coconut Day?

Banana Ice Cream, Part II

Its been a while since I wrote about my experiments in homemade ice cream and I’m sure that you’ve been dying for an update.  Even if you haven’t, I have one for you anyway.

Banana Ice Cream, versions 2 and 3

My second attempt at banana ice cream was an optimistic exercise.  I used three bananas, two cups of whole milk, ¼ cup of brown sugar (why not!), and one teaspoon of vanilla.  The result had a good flavor, but a not so good texture; it was pretty grainy.  Ok, so probably whole milk only doesn’t have enough fat.  Let’s try again!

Maybe the third time’s a charm?  So, I tried three bananas, two cups of heavy cream (might as well go big), ¼ cup of granulated sugar, and one teaspoon of vanilla. This had a better texture, but it was a little too fatty for me (like licking butter).  Maybe it was time to try something else and come back to banana ice cream later.

Coconut Ice Cream, version 1

I was rummaging around in the cupboard and got the idea to try making coconut ice cream. After some Pinterest research, I decided to use: one can of coconut milk, one can of coconut cream, half a cup of sugar (we started with ¼ cup, but it needed a bit more), and a splash of vanilla. 

First, I dumped the contents of both cans in the blender and gave them a whirl to smooth everything out (it had been cold, so the coconut fat was separated and solid).  Then I added the sugar and the vanilla and dumped the whole concoction in the ice cream maker.  After about 15 minutes, I added about a cup of sweetened, shredded coconut.  I ran the machine for 20 minutes total before transferring the mixture to a container so that it could harden in the freezer.  This was delicious, the problem that it was super rock hard.  It would be great for popsicles though.  I decided to try again with half coconut milk and half whole milk, hopeful that will come out scoop-able.

Coconut Ice Cream, version 2

For my next coconut ice cream experiment, I tried one can of coconut milk, then the same amount of whole milk, half a of cup sugar, and a splash of vanilla.  It came out of the ice cream maker so yummy and it seemed like the consistency would be perfect.  But after it spent overnight in the freezer, it was rock-hard too.

I started to think that I need to go back to sweetened, condensed milk or bite the bullet and make a proper custard…