Did you know that 'coconuts' means 'grinning face?' When Spanish explorers discovered coconuts, it reminded them of monkeys with the "three little eyes" at the bottom so they named them cocos, or 'grinning face.'
Despite their name, coconuts are actually fruits, not nuts. They are originally from Malaysia, Polynesia and southern Asia and grow on a type of palm.
These tropical fruits are unique, because you can use practically every part of them: their flesh, milk, sugar, oil and water are all edible and their shell can be used for all kinds of things, including sculpture and bowls.
Palm trees can produce 60-180 coconuts in a single harvest. With the ability to make coconuts up to 13 times a year, that is a lot of nutritious fruit!
Coconut milk is one of the most popular dairy alternatives that is made with coconut flesh (the white part), grated and soaked in hot water.
It is not to be mistaken for coconut water. Thanks to all the electrolytes, coconut water is nature's Gatorade, it is the liquid inside of the coconut. You can drink it with a straw out of the coconut.
Coconut milk, on the other hand, is made from coconut flesh. It is a richer and creamier drink than coconut water, filled with fiber, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals, including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Both are incredibly healthy and should be part of your diet.
Coconut milk has been used throughout history across various cultures, mainly in Asia, but due to Indian influence, some parts of East-Africa too. It is an important part of curries, Thai coconut rice and turmeric golden milk. You can use it in smoothies, shakes, baked goods, kefirs and more. Coconut milk can even be part of your skincare routine, used for coconut milk baths or turmeric-coconut facials.
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