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Desiccated coconut

09 May

Maybe for many of us, the quasi-technical term “desiccation” may sound unfamiliar, perhaps not even related with food or edible things. In fact, a desiccated food means just “an extreme dried food”, and the process of desiccation has multiple utilities in food industry, mostly in food processing. By removing water from a fruit, it can remain edible for a long time, can be preserved and stored almost indefinitely, and this is the common way how a perishable fruit (like fig, date or pear) becomes a staple. Of course, there are very few fruit that can compete with staples like rice, wheat or cassava. Coconut is one of these very few fruit, and, for the people involved in growing and harvesting it, coconut is both a blessing and a lifelong business. When is ripe, a coconut is a true “treasure chest”, as any part of it has its utility: it outer layer of fiber (the “fur” or, more exactly, the hull) is used as a textile fiber and, after being worn, is resilient enough to make strong ropes or fishing nets; the shell provides combustibles for households and industry, but also raw material for craftsmen; the coconut flesh is called “copra” after extraction and it is the base for producing coconut oil and coconut milk, but also high fat desiccated coconut flakes, a basic ingredient in confectionery and chocolate industry, especially for filling the chocolate bars. An important asset of desiccated coconut is its richness in fat, one of the most essential ingredients in human’s diet. For humans, unsaturated oils (be them monounsaturated or polyunsaturated) are a basic need in alimentation and are entirely healthy, while the saturated oils are a kind of a danger, especially when consumed on long terms. The main difference is how the body absorbs these types of oils: the unsaturated ones are processed exclusively in the digestive system, while the saturated ones are partially absorbed in blood and, in time, come to “coat” the interior of the blood vessels, thus causing atherosclerosis. This is a nasty surprise nature has prepared for us, but it has got its counterpart: our arteries can be endangered by some “bad” oils and cholesterols, yes; but they can be protected and maintained in good shape by other oils, in fact, by some “good acids” contained in unsaturated oils. Of course, things are far more complicated than this, but there is a fact accepted by all nutritionists: the best fat is the best balanced fat, this is, the fat that contains both unsaturated and saturated acids, in the ideal proportions for human physiology.In this respect, coconut oil is one of the most equilibrated fats in the vegetal world; this is why desiccated coconut, fat rich and edible fiber rich, easily absorbed and easily digested, has become a recommended supplement for sportsmen and handworkers, and this is how chocolate bars filled with desiccated coconut flakes have conquered their reputation all over the world.

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Posted by on May 9, 2013 in Comunicate

 

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