Top positive review
338 people found this helpful
Great for lamingtons!
on April 17, 2007
This is the best tasting shredded (= dessicated) coconut I have found anywhere in the USA. It is organic and sulfite free. This is the unsweetened, finely shredded, very small pieces of dessicated coconut which is used in South East Asia, Australia etc. This is not the same product as American style coconut, of which the most common type is Baker's sweetened angel flake coconut.
I like to buy finely shredded/dessicated coconut because I often bake Australian, British and European style cakes and cookies, which do not work well when made with flake coconut. I have also discovered that finely shredded coconut can be used to make your own coconut milk or coconut cream at home.
Flake coconut and dessicated coconut have a different taste and texture. A cup of sweetened angel flake coconut has about 2 tablespoons of sugar added to it, so it is very sweet compared to shredded/dessicated coconut, which has no added sugar at all. The shredded/dessicated coconut is drier and the pieces are very small compared to the flakes, so it has more surface area. Because of these two things, 8oz of dessicated coconut will absorb more liquid than 8oz of flake coconut. Some recipes will work quite well with either kind of coconut, but others will not, even if you compensate for the sugar and liquid. Its better, especially for baking, to use whatever the recipe originally calls for.
The coconut I received from Amazon tasted very fresh and had a good use by date. If you want to increase the shelf life of the coconut, throw the bags into the freezer or the refrigerator. They will keep there a year. Once a bag is opened, I always keep it in the refrigerator. I don't like buying this kind of coconut from health food stores, as it often comes in bulk bins and has been exposed to the air. Unsweetened organic coconut can get stale or even develop a rancid taste if it is stored open to the air. The sweetened flake coconut is much more stable because it contains preservatives and sugar.
If you are an Australian wanting to make things like lamingtons or coconut ice, you need to use dessicated/finely shredded cooconut. Flake coconut will not give the right results. Dessicated/finely shredded coconut is also excellent for replicating those little coconut macaroon cookies that you find in many Chinese buffet restaurants.
Shredded/dessicated coconut can be mixed with water to make your own coconut milk or coconut cream. I find this is useful because I rarely use more than 1/2 a can when I cook with coconut milk (curries, soups, laksa etc). Sometimes I only want a spoonful or two, to add a little flavor to a smoothie or a banana cake. I have tried making coconut milk from flake coconut, but for my taste, it was way too sweet and did not have a good texture.
To make coconut milk from dessicated coconut:
Method 1. Put equal parts of coconut and hot water by weight into a blender (eg 8oz coconut to 1 cup of hot water). Whizz in the blender for a minute or two. If desired, you can strain and press it through a cloth or a fine sieve when it has cooled down. This is not necessary for most recipes, unless you require a silky smooth texture for the end product. For a lighter coconut milk, use 8oz of coconut to one and a half cups of water, or you can use "lite" shredded coconut to start with.
Simmer equal parts by weight of coconut with hot water until froth appears. Do not boil. Remove from heat and let it sit until it cools down. If desired, you can strain it through a cloth bag or a very fine sieve, pressing out as much liquid as possible.
To make a thick coconut cream from dessicated coconut:
Use either method above, but use 4 parts of coconut to one part of water.
I thought the price from Amazon was excellent, especially for an organic product. At the time of purchase, it worked out at one dollar forty two cents per 8oz bag and in my case, shipping was free. I can't find organic dessicated coconut anywhere else at this price.
Overall I was very pleased with the taste, freshness, price and quality of this coconut. I don't think that I will have any problems using up the 12 packets in one year, especially as I won't be buying any cans of coconut milk.