We eat a LOT of coconut in our home.
But I NEVER thought that I would be sharing how to make your own Shredded Coconut.
Before I get to that, why do we eat so much coconut?
Why We Love Coconut
1. Food Allergies.
We started drinking alternative dairy-free milks soon after my oldest son's birth. Early on he was diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy to dairy so milk was quickly out of the picture. We didn't have enough money to purchase ready-made dairy-free milks, so I started making oat milk, Homemade Rice Milk, Homemade Almond Milk, and our current favorite, Homemade Coconut Milk. And you can use the Coconut Milk to make this Pumpkin Spice Creamer and Dairy-Free Condensed Milk too.
Literally, I think that we make coconut milk about 3-4 times per week. We love the frothiness when it's first made, and it adds a lovely richness to hot drinks. And tastes great as the base for shakes and smoothies.
2. Coconut for Dairy-free cooking & Gluten-Free and Grain-Free Baking.
Though we aren't strictly grain-free, when I look back at our diet over the past few months, we basically are grain-free with few exceptions. Whereas rice used to be a staple in our diet, more and more it's not on our dining table at all. We've all been on various special diets over the years, from paleo to AIP (autoimmune paleo) to GAPS, to gluten-free, to candida diet….and coconut has been a staple in all of them.
More than that, coconut shreds are a great base for so many recipes. For making Coconut Butter, these No-Bake Coconut Delights, Coconut Truffles, these Chocolate Mint Bars and these fun Chocolate Nests.
3. Coconut is Low Carb.
I don't personally espouse a very low carb diet exclusively (see this post for why I think carbs have been an important part of my healing), but I think that our culture consumes way too many carbohydrates and that it is a contributor to so many of our health problems including candida, diabetes, and more. Coconut is a great way to ditch some of the carbs.
Why I Started Shredding Coconut
Anyhow, typically I just buy my coconut already dried, but recently something funny happened. I have hired out my photography to one of my former guest writers, Naomi Huzovicova. She lives in Slovakia and has a lovely blog called Almost Bananas where you can see her chronicle some of her life in that beautiful country.
Well, I asked if she could take some photos of some new recipes that I am working on for flavored coconut chips, and she mentioned that they didn't have coconut flakes in Slovakia.
What's a girl to do?
Well, Naomi and I found a way to make this work and just had to pass this fabulous information on to you all.
It's so easy that even if you have access to coconut flakes and shredded coconut / coconut shreds, you might just want to do this for a fun project. Plus, my boys LOVE fresh coconut so much — I know they would be happy for any excuse to buy some. As in 2, or 4, or a dozen….
- Fresh Coconut
- Break open coconut with hammer and peel the soft outer shell with a vegetable peeler
- Grate the fresh coconut meal according to desired result. Use small holes for fine shreds, normal big holes for typical shredded coconut, and use the grater slicer for chips. Alternatively, for the chips, peeling with vegetable peeler makes a cleaner and more attractive chip -- but it is a bit thicker.
- Dry in oven or dehydrator. We dried the small and medium shreds in a 100 - 125 F convection oven (40 - 50 C) for 2 hours (small) to 3 hours (medium). For the chips, you can also use the oven, but we dried them in a dehydrator for approx. 6 hours.
You could, of course, use the oven at a higher temperature to dry out the coconut chips / shredded coconut, but you won't have a raw final product with the enzymes intact.
Isn't this great? Now if you live in Slovakia (or some other place) that doesn't have coconut chips, you can make them yourself.
Or, if the only coconut available to you is coconut treated with icky sodium metabisulfate preservative, here's your answer.
Will you try it :)?
Do you love coconut?
What is your favorite way to eat it?
Photo credits: Naomi Huzovicova
Shared at AIP Recipe Roundtable