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Dry coconuts are just that; dry. The milk within the coconut hardens as it matures and becomes the copra, or meat, of the coconut. After a coconut is first cracked the moisture content of the meat is roughly 50 percent and it contains around 30-40% oil. After being dried by heat or the sun, the moisture content dips down to 4 or 5% and the oil content jumps to 36-70%. The resulting Dry coconut is off-white to white in color with a mild coconut flavor.
Dry coconut can be found year-round in tropical climates.
Coconuts are the fruit of the Cocos nucifera, or coconut palm. The kernel within the fibrous green husk holds the edible meat and refreshing milk of the coconut. Dry coconut is known as “Copra” in India and is made by removing the husk of the mature coconut and cracking open the kernel, exposing the meat and liquid within. The meat is then dried using either of two methods: dried out in the air and sun or hot air drying. In India, this is done using a heated tunnel; in the Philippines, a kiln-heated process is used.
Dry coconut is higher in saturated fat than dairy. It has no cholesterol and is very low in sodium. Dry coconut is high in manganese which researchers say is beneficial for healthy skin and bones and helps maintain good blood sugar levels.
Dry coconut can be cut into cubes, sliced or grated and added to a number of both savory and sweet dishes. In India, Dry coconut is used to make Khopra Pak a baked treat made with saffron and milk. Cut the copra away from the hard kernel and remove any remnants before using. Blend shredded Dry coconut with hot water, place pulp into a cheesecloth over a bowl and squeeze the liquid out for homemade coconut milk. Grated Dry coconut can be used as a garnish or added to cookie or cake recipes; add to curries or salads. Dry coconut has a longer shelf life than fresh coconut and can be bagged and refrigerated for up to six months.
Dry coconuts are commonly found in markets throughout India.
Cocos nucifera is native to tropical India and Southeast Asia and it also grows in South Africa and South America. Dry coconut is primarily exported from the Philippines, Malaysia, Mozambique and Papua New Guinea. Dry coconut is the source of coconut oil and is exported all over the world for use in making oil. Coconut oil was introduced in Europe in the 1860s as a source of edible fat during a shortage of dairy fats, they now import over half a million tons annually. Coconut oil came to the US in the 20th century.
Recipes that include Dry Coconut. One is easiest, three is harder.