If you are a veteran to the health food world, then you’ve probably heard that, contrary to popular belief, coconut is as nutritious as it is delicious! Coconut oil fell under the “foods to avoid” category for quite some time due to its saturated fat content. However, recent studies have shown that the medium chain fatty acids contained in coconuts are harder for our bodies to store as fat and easier for them to burn off. Studies have also suggested that consumption of a diet higher in medium chain fatty acids improves glucose tolerance and reduces body fat accumulation compared to diets higher in long chain fatty acids. Read below to see how you can add more coconut to your diet!
The Difference Between Coconut Oil and Coconut Butter
It can be easy to confuse the two, especially when coconut oil solidifies, but these are two different products. Think of coconut oil and coconut butter like peanut oil and peanut butter — two distinct products used for very different purposes.
Coconut oil is simply the oil that’s been extracted from the coconut meat, while coconut butter is made from coconut flesh that’s been ground into a spreadable paste.
More About Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has a mellow, sweet, nutty flavor that sticks around even after cooking. The consistency of coconut oil varies depending on temperature. At room temperature, coconut oil is typically solid and semi-soft, although if you live in a hot climate it will likely be softer or even melted.
You can find coconut oil at specialty markets, health food stores, and most grocery stores.
How to Use Coconut Oil
Depending on what the recipe is for, coconut oil can be used in either solid or melted form and is generally used for cooking, baking or to saute vegetables. The flavor is very mellow so do not be afraid to use with savory type foods.
More About Coconut Butter
Coconut butter is coconut flesh that’s been ground into a spreadable paste. Unlike oil, it includes all the fat, fiber, and nutrients from the coconut.
The consistency can vary depending on temperature and how the coconut butter is stored. It ranges from semi-soft and super creamy (like in the photo above) when it’s warm, to hard and almost waxy when stored in a cool place and during cooler months.
The flavor is pure intense coconut, although it is not too sweet. You can find coconut butter, (or coconut manna as it is often called), in health food stores or at your local grocer. You can make your own by blending a bag of unsweetened coconut flakes until it becomes like a spreadable paste.
How to Use Coconut Butter
Coconut butter is simple and versatile to use, and it usually is used for eating instead of cooking. It can be as basic as spreading it on a piece of toast. You can also use it as a topping for pancakes or waffles, or drizzle it over oatmeal or granola. Coconut butter pairs well with savory dishes, too, like drizzling it over sautéed greens and roasted sweet potatoes. Try the recipe below courtesy of https://nouveauraw.com for a sweet treat!
Orange Cream Coconut Butter Bark
- 1/2 cup coconut butter, softened
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (room temperature)
- In a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, combine the softened coconut butter and orange juice. Process until silky and creamy.
- Pour into mold(s) and freeze. The bark will hold up at room temp as long as it doesn’t get warmer than about 76 degrees (F).