There is always a degree of debate that goes on when deciding whether to go to the full extent of toasting your own coconut versus simply picking up a commercial bag in the store.
When I choose to make something homemade, I personally want it to be as homemade as possible.
Once you’ve experienced the smell of that nutty aroma filling your kitchen and feel the pride you’ll have after tasting the crispy sweetness of toasted coconut made by your own hand – you’ll be glad you took the time to do it yourself.
And I dare say, you’ll be toasting your own from then on!
Endless Uses for Toasted Coconut
After learning to toast my own coconut, I found an ever growing assortment of things to use it on.
The possibilities are endless.
Toasted coconut can be interchanged in any recipe that calls for coconut.
It’s a common ingredient in many recipes but also great for decorating cakes, cupcakes and cookies. It can be sprinkled on top of yogurt, ice cream or pudding for a sweet fun texture variation.
I personally love adding it to a bowl of peanuts or popcorn to snack on. Adding coconut is a great variation to “kick it up a notch” and change an ordinary food item. Toasted coconut can be used to add fun and flavor when entertaining or just a treat to eat by the handful while your relaxing at home.
Choosing the Coconut Type
You may use unsweetened or sweetened raw coconut to prepare toasted coconut.
There will be slight time variations in the toasting process. Unsweetened coconut flakes will take more time to toast than sweetened coconut.
Your choice should depend upon your personal tastes and what you see as the intended end use for the toasted coconut.
Three Toasting Methods:
- STOVETOP for Small batches of 1-2 cups
- MICROWAVE for medium batches of 2 cups
- OVEN BAKING for larger batches – over 2 cups
Place coconut flakes in a large skillet and cook over a medium low setting for 3-6 minutes. Continue stirring until most of the coconut is golden brown.
This method is widely viewed as giving you the most control when toasting small batches.
When you have achieved the uniform golden color desired, remove the coconut from the cooking dish and allow it to cool completely.
Spread the coconut in the bottom of a microwave-safe glass container. Microwave the coconut for 4-5 minutes, stopping to stir after each one minute interval. Once the desired uniform brown color is achieved, remove from the cooking dish and allow the coconut to cool completely.
Spread the coconut in a thin single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake the coconut in a preheated oven at 325F for 8-10 minutes. Stir the coconut every two minutes to ensure an even toasting and uniform golden brown color. Once the desired color is achieved, the coconut should be removed from the oven and baking sheet and then transferred to another dish to cool completely.
Advantages & Disadvantages of the Methods
Each of the three methods will allow you to effectively toast coconut, but each method yield an entirely different result.
Generally, the oven method is viewed as the most preferred and results in the best outcome.
However, toasting in the oven takes a little longer.
The fastest method is using the microwave, but it is generally viewed as the least favored method with the least favorable outcome. Using the stove-top falls within the middle in terms of convenience and speed. I personally enjoy the control you gain with the stove-top method.
In truth, the ease of toasting coconut with any of these methods could allow you to try all three with small quantities and determine which of the three your prefer.
Helpful Tips for Toasting Coconut
- Consider the cooking time differences between unsweetened & sweetened coconut
- Coconut should be stirred consistently to promotes even browning
- Keep a watchful eye on the coconut. Once it begins to toast- it toasts quickly!
- Remove coconut from the dish it was toasted in to prevent residual heat from toasting it beyond the desired point.
- Coconut can be stored in a zip lock bag or airtight container for up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
Not Only Delicious – But It Does A Body Good!
Dried coconut can tout some pretty impressive proven health benefits. Coconut in general can strengthen the connective tissues in the body – directly impacting your ligaments, skin, bones and tendons.
Coconut contains a wide range of minerals available in an easily digestible form for your body to absorb and use. This can reduce mineral deficiencies generally – but addresses the iron deficiency causing anemia as well as reducing the risk of other serious diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis.
Coconut helps lower cholesterol levels. Like all other healthy fats, it lowers your level of the “bad” LDL cholesterol while increasing the levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol. It serves to strengthen your arteries and promotes cardiovascular health.
Coconut also promotes brain function. Chemicals contained in coconut meat aid in the production of crucial neurotransmitter as well as myelin. Coconut oil has recently been acknowledged as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s.
Positive Nutritional Aspects
As if the delicious taste of toasted coconut was not reason enough to learn to toast your own coconut, adding it to recipes or to eating it alone offers significant nutritive value and health benefits.
In one ounce of dried coconut, you are getting:
- 18% of daily dietary fiber
- 1% of Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Calcium
- 2% of Riboflavin
- 4% of Vitamin B6
- 5% of Iron
- 11% of Copper
- 38% of Manganese
- 7% of Selenium
At first glance, these values may not seem significant, but considering this is a food generally eaten for simple pleasure – it’s quite impressive. When did you last bite into a favorite candy bar and it not cross your mind for a brief moment that this is a temporary delight for your taste buds – but is filled with empty calories and zero nutritional benefit. Toasted coconut is a tasty treat that we can truly eat guilt free.
Why not give toasting your own coconut a try! It’s easy, fast – nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Make a Small or Large Batch
Once you begin to dabble at toasting your own coconut, you can fine tune the skill to make custom batches.
Toasting coconut is a surprisingly easy and fast undertaking.
Once you master the basics – you can literally make small batches for any particular purpose and larger batches for general baking and cooking.
For instance, you may choose to make a small batch for a snack bowl just to suite your tastes.
If you have a particular sweet tooth, you can indulge that by using sweetened coconut whereas you might want to use unsweetened coconut if it’s to be used in general baking.
Toasting coconut is easy and fast enough to do often and to customize batches to your choosing.