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What is Coconut Butter?
Coconut butter is essentially butter that is made from the flesh of a coconut. The white coconut flesh is blended or mashed to create a thick spread.
Before we go into more detail about coconut butter, let’s cover the key (and only) ingredient: coconuts!
[color-box color=”blue”]Read our guide to coconut oil here[/color-box]
Coconuts are the fruit of the cocos nucifera, a type of palm. Despite the misleading name, coconuts are actually classed as a type of drupe fruit.
These include any fruit with a seed that is enclosed by a stony layer, such as olives or peaches.
Drupe fruits of any sort – including coconuts – have three distinct layers. The outer layer is known as the exocarp. In a coconut, the exocarp is a hard, smooth external shell.
The second layer is called the mesocarp. This is a sort of husk that surrounds the internal layer, the endocarp, which in turn protects the coconut seed.
The seed within a coconut is how it manages to reproduce. By now you’re probably wondering what part of the coconut is the edible part!
All drupe fruits have endosperms, which are the food source a seed uses to grow. A coconut’s endosperm is the tasty white flesh. (Source)
Coconut meat is packed with minerals, vitamins, and essential nutrients. A single serving of coconut (one two inch piece) is worth 159 calories.
This fruit has a high content of saturated fat, which is healthy in moderation. Coconuts also contain iron, potassium, and phosphorus.
Just one portion of coconut will provide you with nearly 11 percent of the daily recommended intake for iron.
This vital mineral promotes the transport of oxygen throughout your body. Potassium is heart-healthy, and phosphorus is good for bones and teeth.
Coconuts contain absolutely no cholesterol. As an added bonus, they are very rich in fiber!
Fiber keeps you feeling fuller for longer. It can also decrease your risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
On average, a woman should eat 25 grams of fiber daily and a man should consume 38 grams.
One piece (serving size) of coconut will give you a 4 gram heart start to meet your daily goal.
Coconuts are a versatile addition to almost any dish. Shredded coconut can serve as a tasty breading for fish and chicken.
They are also a popular addition to many deserts. Cakes, cookies and other pastries can be flavored with coconut. (Source)
The products that can be made from a coconut’s delectable flesh are countless. Coconut flour, oil, milk, and cream have a multitude of culinary uses.
Some of these products can be used outside of the kitchen too. For example, coconut oil can be a soothing lotion for dry skin. (Source)
Coconut Butter Uses
But what about coconut butter? Well, coconut butter is made exclusively from coconut meat. This means it contains all of the same health benefits.
One tablespoon of coconut butter contains 105 calories. That same serving also has 11 grams of fat and four grams worth of carbohydrates, fiber included. (Source)
Coconut butter is an adaptable ingredient. You can experiment with temperature to create different textures.
For example, melted coconut butter can be drizzled over fruit for an easy snack. If you chill the fruit in the refrigerator, the coconut butter will solidify and become crunchy.
You can also use the butter as a fiber-rich dip for vegetables or as a base ingredient for salad dressings.
Coconut butter can substitute processed syrup on pancakes. Just add a small dollop to a hot pancake and tuck in!
You can try out coconut butter in meat-based stir fries. One tablespoon can be mixed in once the stir fry is ready for extra flavor.
Note that coconut butter has a tendency to burn fairly easily. For this reason, it is not recommended to use the butter itself for cooking.
It can be added to hot dishes or beverages, but shouldn’t be exposed to high temperatures (e.g. stovetop flame) for a long time. (Source)
The butter can be frozen by itself or with fruit, chocolate, or anything else you can think of. Just remove it from the freezer and enjoy your crispy snack!
Finally, coconut butter is a great substitute for dairy butter. Whether you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, try coconut butter as an alternative flavoring!
Create a thick, creamy tomato sauce that’s entirely dairy-free. Add two tablespoons of coconut butter per one cup of tomato sauce, whether homemade or store bought.
Instead of milk or cream, you can also sweeten your hot drinks with coconut butter. A teaspoonful of coconut butter can be added to your morning coffee or tea.
Even hot cocoa can be prepared with coconut butter instead of dairy. Prepare the cocoa as instructed, but instead of milk or cream add one big tablespoon of coconut butter.
Similarly, coconut butter is acceptable even on very strict diets. For example, the autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet involves eliminating a vast group of foodstuffs.
Nuts and related products are prohibited on the AIP diet. Coconut butter, since it is actually a fruit rather than a nut, is a fine substitute for nut butters. (Source)
Best of all, coconut butter is delectable all by itself. If you’re not in the mood for prep-work, you can just eat a spoonful straight from the jar. (Source)
The coconut’s meat isn’t the only part of it with value. Coconuts-bearing palms are known as “the tree of life”.
This is because basically all parts of a coconut can be used. Coconut milk, the liquid contained inside each coconut, is a refreshing and nutritious drink.
The inedible shells can be used for multiple purposes, such as producing utensils, fuel, and even musical instruments. (Source)
How to Buy Quality Store Bought Coconut Butter
Coconut butter can fall under different names depending on where it is sold. If you can’t find coconut butter at a store, don’t worry.
Check for coconut manna, coconut cream concentrate, or coconut spread. (Source)
Ideally, coconut butter should be made up of just one ingredient – coconut meat. You don’t want to be consuming a lot of additional ingredients, like vegetable oil or sugar.
It’s important to check the ingredient label before you buy. Top quality coconut butter is organic and free of artificial ingredients.
However, like any item personal preference comes into play. Some brands of coconut butter contain flavorings, like vanilla, that you might enjoy.
Coconut butter can be expensive, but there are quality brands on the lower end of the price spectrum too.
Trusted websites like Amazon have a wide selection of coconut butter for every buyer. Make sure to read both the ingredients and the reviews carefully.
We recommend these brands:
Artisana Organic Coconut Butter
Gopal’s Raw Organic Coconut Butter
You can also check a brand’s website to see where their ingredients come from, and if they contain anything you want to avoid – like genetically modified organisms (GMOs). (Source)
How to Make Coconut Butter
To make coconut butter, all you’re going to need is coconut! To be specific, dried shredded raw coconut meat.
Coconut butter is a relatively easy recipe to prepare. You won’t need any utensils or appliances besides a food processor or a blender.
You can purchase shredded coconut from your local grocery store. Make sure the meat has not been subjected to any processing, such as added sweeteners.
All you’re going to need is two cups worth of shredded coconut. For best results, use organic coconut.
Then, add the shredded coconut to your blender or food processor. Process the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, and you’re done! (Source)
The finished product can be kept in glass jars or any type of sealed container. It will last for a period of several months.
You don’t have to store your coconut butter in the refrigerator. Take note that the texture of coconut butter at room temperature depends on the climate you’re living in.
The texture of the butter can be liquid, crumbly, or solid. If the butter hardens from cold, you can warm it up carefully.
It is best not to heat up hard coconut butter rapidly, so don’t blast it in your microwave. This is because it burns quickly, so use gentle heating methods like a water bath. (Source)
To heat coconut butter in a water bath, you will need a saucepan. Transfer the amount of butter you want to heat up to a fresh glass jar.
If you want to heat up your entire container of coconut butter, you can simply use the jar itself.
Then all you have to do is the following:
- Pour water into your saucepan until the water level is about halfway up your container.
- Heat on a low setting. You don’t want the water boiling out of the pan.
- As the water heats up, stir the coconut butter periodically.
- When your coconut butter is at the desired consistency, remove from the water bath and enjoy! (Source)
Is Coconut Butter Paleo?
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The Paleo (short for Paleolithic) diet has become increasingly popular over the last decade. This diet isn’t about obsessive calorie counting or restriction.
Rather, the whole concept of the Paleo diet is founded on one key principal. You will eat and drink only what was available your Paleolithic ancestors.
The Paleolithic era is also known as the Old Stone Age. It began almost three million years ago, and lasted up until roughly 12,000 years ago.
Historically speaking, 12,000 years isn’t a very long time. But in that space of time, humanity has changed dramatically. (Source)
The average diet today is unrecognizable from a typical Paleo-era diet. Our ancestors were hunter gatherers, meaning they ate only what could be found in nature or hunted.
Many foods today are the opposite of natural and wholesome. Popular processed foods, fast food, sugary beverages and sweet snacks have very little nutritional value.
In fact, if you make a comparison of one of our Paleolithic predecessors to the average person today, you’d be surprised.
A human living in the Paleolithic era tended to be lean, muscular, and athletic. Comparatively, obesity rates today are rising at a frightening rate.
39 percent of adults worldwide are considered overweight. In certain countries, obesity and excess weight are more likely to be the cause of death than being underweight.
There has been a significant increase of high calorie, fatty foods across the globe. On top of that, most jobs today do not require much exercise, e.g. office jobs. (Source)
Advocates of the Paleo diet suspect that one big culprit is to blame for the excess weight. Aside from processed foods, many of us eat far too many grains.
In the Paleolithic era, agriculture was totally unheard of. The agricultural revolution allowed us to cultivate and produce wheat, barley, and other grains.
Today, grains are found in the vast majority of the foodstuffs you eat. Bread, cereal, pasta, and countless other popular foods are all made from grains.
These foods are high in carbohydrates, which our bodies convert into sugar. The Paleo diet prohibits sugar entirely.
The whole list of foods and beverages that are off the table include:
- Any and all grain based products (e.g. bread, rice, oats, etc)
- Processed foods (e.g. fast food, potato chips, etc)
- Legumes (e.g. beans, lentils, etc)
- Vegetable oils
- Dairy products
- Trans fats (e.g. margarine)
- Sugary snacks and drinks (e.g. soda, candy bars, etc)
The foods you will be eating are full of nutrients rather than empty calories. These include:
- Meat (preferably grass-fed and organic)
- Fish (preferably wild instead of farmed)
- Healthy oils (e.g. avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, etc) (Source)
Followers of the Paleo diet advocate choosing fresh, organic products whenever possible. However, this option can be quite costly.
Try to find the least processed version of the food or beverage you want to buy. For example, instead of nuts that are artificially sweetened go for the plain flavor. (Source)
As a type of fruit, coconuts are an acceptable addition to a Paleo diet. The entire coconut and related products, coconut butter included, are all considered Paleo.
The coconut’s multiple health benefits make it ideal for a Paleo dieter. Some coconut products that are sold in stores can contain artificial ingredients, so it’s always important to read labels carefully.
Coconut butter is a tasty and unprocessed alternative to certain dairy products, like margarine. The versatile, flavorsome spread can also replace unhealthy, high calorie snacks. (Source)
Have you tried coconut butter? What’s your favorite way to eat it? Let us know in the comments!
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