Introduction: Coconut Bacon BLT and Coconut Uses
This instructable has been inspired by the Coconut Challenge contest. I will be sharing a coconut bacon recipe that is vegetarian. I will also be sharing things that I learned in the process while making this instructable. I have not used a whole coconut for this recipe before and thought I would give it a try.
Stick around and learn how to make a delicious and nutritious bacon using coconut!Yes, I know, it is not really bacon, but I am sure if you make it, you will agree, it sure does taste like real bacon with a hint of coconut~ Let's get started!
Step 1: Coconut Contents
Botanically, the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. The coconut comes from the coconut Palm. It is often considered a fruit, nut, and a seed. People who have nut allergies should be tested before they eat a coconut according to the experts.
A good way to check a coconut for freshness is to shake it. If it sloshes that is a good sign so far. There are three little dimples at the end of the coconut, check that area for mold or moisture. A fresh coconut should feel heavy.If a coconut smells sour it is usually a sign that it is spoiled.
The liquid inside the coconut is coconut water. When I purchased the fresh coconut from the store it had a sticker on it that said "Do not drink the coconut water". So I am not sure why the water was not recommended for drinking, other than . . . the best coconut water, comes from the young fruit not the older brown coconuts.Coconut water from the young fruit is high in potassium and low in calories. The young coconut is much easier to open than the ripe brown coconut. The meat inside the coconut has a soft gelatinous consistency and can be removed easily with a spoon, unlike the mature brown coconut.
The common brown coconut is used mainly for the meat content. It requires some effort to remove the meat from the shell. Coconut milk is derived from the meat of the brown coconut and is very easy to make from scratch, which I will briefly share later.
Coconut oil is highly recommended for cooking and baking purposes because of the nutritional value as well as its healthy oils. The oils are often used in beauty products.
Step 2: Opening the Coconut
I wanted to save the shell of the coconut so we opened the coconut the hard way in order to make a uniform edge (as much as possible). My husband used a type of saw blade but should have used a hack saw instead. He did not want to look for his hack saw, so he used what you see in the picture. I would recommend using a vice to hold the coconut because it would be easy to get hurt using a knife in my opinion.
Most people open them by cutting a small hole in the end of the coconut to drain the water. There are 3 eyes in the end of the coconut. Two have something that looks like an eye brow above them and are harder in structure than the one eye below them, which is softer to puncture with a knife. After the water is removed, using a heavy object like a hammer can be used to hit along one of the main lines, in the shell and it pops apart. Breaking the shell into smaller pieces makes it easier to remove the meat from the shell.This method is great if you do not want to save the shell.
After scoring around the coconut up to the gelatinous section of the coconut meat, he took a very good knife and began to pry the shell away from the meat of the coconut. When the shell broke into,we used a limber knife to score between the meat of the coconut and the shell. This was quite difficult so we tried a large 2 pronged fork to scoop the more difficult pieces. I suggest purchasing a good coconut tool if you will be eating a lot of fresh coconut.
The coconut water from the brown coconut is often used for a face wash.
Step 3: How to Extract Coconut Milk
I added this page because many people think the coconut liquid inside the coconut is coconut milk. This page is mostly for explaining the uses and a brief explanation about how they are made.
If a person will be making shredded coconut they can use a dry mill, a food grater, or a coconut shredder, one version is a small step stool and on one end is a sharp toothed metal shape used to shred the coconut by hand while sitting on the stool.
From my search coconut milk was extracted by blending coconut flakes or cubes in a blender or food processor adding hot spring water or filtered water and the coconut from the fresh coconut or you can use unsweetened raw coconut found in the baking isle of the grocery store or health food store. I recommend organic.I do not know if this way is considered coconut milk or not, although everyone mentioned it was coconut milk. I think it would be safe to say it is raw coconut milk.
The liquid is then filtered through a loose weave cloth or fine strainer and can be refrigerated for several days or frozen for about three months.
Some people make two batches from the coconut and use it as a water or liquid substitute in rice and similar dishes. Naturally the second batch is weaker.
Some people add the coconut water from the brown coconut, but I did not do it because of my experience reading the label on the coconut. If I recall the sticker said "Warning" but to be on the safe side, I suggest doing research before using the water from a brown coconut.
Coconut milk is recommended in a lot of healthy recipes as well as vegan and vegetarian recipes. It has a nice consistency and a rich flavor. The store bought coconut milk is much richer because of added ingredients and it seemed to be thicker than the extracted version I made.
The left over coconut is tasteless and all I could think of using it for, would be drying the coconut in a food dryer and grinding it with a food mill to make flour or use it for compost, but I haven't researched it thorough enough to find out more.
Coconut milk is often used as a delicious marinade and it doubles as a meat tenderizer.
Step 4: Coconut Bacon Ingredients and Utensils
Coconut Bacon Ingredients for sampler recipe:
1 Cup flakes from a whole coconut or one package "Large Raw Organic coconut flakes" I used the organic flakes to make this recipe so if you are using the coconut from a whole coconut make sure you slice the coconut pieces very thin to get the bacon texture. The thicker pieces did not work for me.
1 Tablespoon Tamari (If you are sensitive to salty flavors use half the amount and adjust accordingly. Tamari is quite salty but it does contribute a lot of the bacon flavor to this recipe.
1 teaspoon Olive oil "I used a fruity olive oil".
3/4 Tablespoon raw organic Apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon Smoked Paprika optional
Few drops liquid smoke your choice ( be careful with this because it is easy to use too much) but it is also easy to fix by adding more vinegar and olive oil.
This is a very forgiving recipe.I recommend using the above measurements and tasting the marinade after everything is added and adjust the ingredients according to your taste. After you make it a few times you can create different flavors by adding maple syrup or experimenting using different seasonings that compliment the food you will be serving with it. You might even try different oils. I have seen a videos of people who made fake bacon from young coconuts but I am not sure how it would work using a skillet like I did, or using this recipe. If you try it, I would probably remove the vinegar. I had planned on using a food dryer and this recipe, omitting the vinegar but could not find any young coconuts available at the stores here. If using young coconut meat or coconut meat from an older coconut, the pieces should be cut thin, like the store bought coconut flakes, otherwise they will not have a bacon like texture and they tend to be quite chewy and tough.
Ingredients for Sandwich:
I used a heavy grained wheat bread
Spring mix lettuce
I served it with tomato soup. It taste so much better with homemade soup though!
If you like the recipe you can double it or triple it for a larger batch. In my family it disappears fast.
We like them just to snack on. By the way shredded coconut will not work for this recipe, I know because I tried it. The flavor does not come through the same and of course the texture is not right.
Depending on which type of coconut you will be using will determine what tools you will need. I will list everything you might need.
Stove top,oven or food dryer,toaster, a good quality sharp knife like Wüsthof, small bowl, spoon, cutting board, coconut tool, food grater, blender or food processor,cookie sheet or skillet, food storage container with tight lid (preferable glass), hammer, and hack saw.
Step 5: Marinade
This is what to do:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F or heat the coconut pieces on top of the stove or you can dry them in the food dryer for about 8-12 hours on very low 115 degrees f.This was my first attempt to dry the coconut in a food dryer using this recipe, this batch took a long time because the pieces were too thick.
Mix all of the ingredients into a bowl and allow the mixture to meld for five minutes or so.
Add the coconut flakes and let sit for about fifteen minutes and stir a couple of times to make sure each piece is covered completely with the marinade.
While you are waiting go ahead to the next step.
If you are making bacon with the young coconut follow the instructions above. I can't describe the taste or texture of this compared to the ripe coconut but I have heard of people making it from the young coconut. I recommend drying it in a food dryer or oven but do not think it will be as good on top of the stove.
Step 6: Prep Work
Wash and slice the Vegetables.
Place the bacon pieces on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about five minutes BUT keep a close watch on the pieces because they cook fast and burn easily. I made my on the stove top using a medium low heat because my oven is on the blink. I prefer the oven method though. A food dryer can be used also.
Remove the bacon from the oven.
Step 7: Make Toast
I toasted my bread and added mayonnaise and assembled the sandwich with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and
coconut BACON! Yum!
Step 8: Sunshiines Final Thoughts
Even if you are a meat lover, I am sure you will love this recipe. It makes a great snack for school lunches or work. It can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature, we usually eat it up so fast I haven't tested it to see how long it would actually keep, I would feel safe to say a week.
I hope you give it a try. Meanwhile I wish to thank my readers for stopping by and instructables and our sponsors for the Coconut Challenge.
Have a great summer and be happy and safe~