Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fresh coconut milk

I'm taking this really cool class on culinary gardening at PBCC taught by Lloyd Singleton, the manager of the gardens at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. He took us on a tour of the culinary gardens where they grow many of the vegetables and herbs used in L’Escalier, their French restaurant.

After the tour we got a real treat - a drink of coconut milk from a fresh coconut. The interior of a coconut is hollow, but partially filled with a watery liquid called "coconut milk". The milk is found in unripe fruits, and is gradually absorbed as the fruit ripens.

The fruits are green or yellow at first, turning brown as they mature. The coconuts were picked for us, and the hard outer layer carved to a point so we could open them easily.

You make a small opening in the top using a machete.

Then you drink the coconut juice with a straw.

Inside the shell is a thin, white, fleshy layer, known as the "meat" or copra. The meat is soft and jelly-like when immature, but it becomes firm at maturity. You can spoon the meat out and eat it.

Palm Beach got its name from the coconut palm tree which grows along tropical, sandy shorelines. It can also be grown inland. One tree can produce between 50 to 200 coconuts a year. At the Breakers, these are all removed before Hurricane season starts in June.


Katie said...

What did the coconut milk taste like? Did you like it? The jelly-like coconut sounds good! Where do they take the coconut trees to during the hurrican season? Cool post!

Susan said...

The coconuts are all removed from the trees before hurricane season. The trees stay where they are.

The milk tasted sort of watery. It would be very refreshing if you were lying on the beach in the sun and got thirsty, or if you were stranded on a desert island :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm writing a couple blog posts about fresh coconut milk right now and will probably link to this post of yours... love your blog!