The addition of coconut gives a mild flavor to pies, cookies, and cakes. The dried coconut itself is available in multiple varieties, flaked, desiccated, and shredded. Since there is minimal difference between these varieties, these terms are used interchangeably in common usage.
These are the biggest pieces. It is created by a purpose built coconut grater. The flakes are long and wide. Perfect flakes are created when the scraper is run over the coconut. If you buy it in cans, then you will find sugar added to them.
These look like thin strands and are a little smaller than the flaked version. Shredded coconut is made by a grater that has holes with rough edges. Scraping results in thin and long strips. The smallest coconut pieces are called grated coconut.
Preparing coconut flakes
Coconut flakes have versatility. You can make savory dishes and also dessert items with them. If you love them, you may have encountered the problem of not having sufficient quantities when you need it the most. Flakes can be scarce in some parts of the country too. The good thing is that coconuts are found everywhere and you can make coconut flakes at home. This can be done easily and quickly. Best of all, they are tastier too.
To prepare coconut flakes, you need the meat of a dry coconut which has been removed only a little time ago.
How to make flaked coconuts?
- Take the meat of the dry coconut.
- Take box cheese grater and grate coconut meat. The flake size will be dependent on the size of the grater you have used. There is a chance that your knuckles will be scraped during the process. Be wary of this so that it does not happen. Largest coconut flakes are used for decoration. Smaller sizes are used for baking. Choosing the size depends on the dish or on your taste.
- Spread flakes on a non-stick mat-lined baking tray. Preheat the oven to 175 degree Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn off the heat. Place the baking tray in the oven. Wait for 30 minutes. Remove and reheat. Repeat once to obtain white or dry flakes. If you want golden or toasted flakes, repeat twice. Let it rest inside the oven for about two hours after the completion of the last round.
- Do note that a standard coconut will provide half to two cups of flakes. The volume is dependent on flake size. In case you need to store, place it in an airtight jar or zippered bag. Refrigerate for seven days.
Coconut, whether flaked or shredded, provides a number of health benefits. There is no actual difference between flaked coconut and shredded coconut, except the former is bigger in size. However, choosing an unsweetened coconut over a sweetened one makes a major difference. Water content is lower in unsweetened coconut. This makes it a concentrated powerhouse of nutrients. Unhealthy sugar is also found or present in minuscule amounts.
- One ounce of desiccated or unsweetened dried coconut has about 4.5 grams of beneficial fiber. This makes up 18 percent of daily value. In contrast, the sweetened version contains about three grams. The fiber in the diet assists you to feel full for a much longer of time. You lose weight easily. It also restricts the risk of heart diseases, few varieties of cancer and heart disease. Constipation along with digestive issues will also go away.
- One ounce of the unsweetened dried coconut has 38 percent of DV for Manganese and 11 percent for copper. There will also be small amounts of phosphorus, selenium, iron, potassium, zinc, and magnesium. Each serving of sweetened dried coconut contains 13 percent of DV for manganese. About six percent of DV for selenium are also found. Manganese is excellent anti-oxidant which heals wounds and prevents damage to cells. It plays a positive role in the development of bones and metabolism too. Copper, yet another antioxidant is needed to whip up red blood cells. The metal absorbs iron and keeps the immune system strong. It also ensures that the nerves function properly.
Saturated fat has been associated with the risk of heart disease and rise in cholesterol. However, lauric acid, a kind of saturated fat available in coconut, is different from the rest and may not bring about many bad effects. It is believed to increase the quantity of “good” cholesterol and not the “bad” cholesterol.
As per a 2009 study, obese women who supplemented their regular diet with oil from coconut for a period of 12 weeks enjoyed a decrease in the circumference of their waist and also beneficial changes in cholesterol level. However, despite all such benefits, coconut should be taken in moderation as it is full of calories. It is 185 for every ounce for the unsweetened variety and 128 calories for every ounce for the sweetened type.
Toast coconut for maximum flavor.
Link to scientific reference: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/coconut-oil