Coconut palms grow everywhere in the Dominican Republic, and the coconut is a mast have for all islanders! It will make you drink and feed you, plus the locals have mastered making coconut shells. In this article we will tell you all the most important things about coconuts and coconut oil in the Dominican Republic, and also teach you how to make real coconut milk.
If you want to read more about one very important Dominican fruit, the mango, read our article Dominican mango and Mango Festival in Bani.
Coconut water and milk in the Dominican Republic
Thanks to the beautiful and catchy commercials for the Bounty candy bar, for many people, coconut is brown and hairy. However, this is the form in which it can be found in your supermarkets. In fact, brown coconut is an overripe coconut that has already had the top fibrous layer removed. It is usually used in this form to make oil and in cooking. In the Dominican Republic and other hot countries, it is customary to eat and drink young coconuts when they are still green. You can enjoy this exotic delicacy in almost any cafe, fruit shop or buy it on the street from an enterprising Dominican with a machete.
As the nut ripens, the nutrients in its juice turn into pulp. The ripe coconut in the Dominican Republic is sold as coco seco (dried coconut). Its pulp is used to make milk, oil or treats, its water is almost tasteless. So feel free to discard it, you won’t lose anything.
Buying a fresh coconut on the street (or in a hotel), the seller with a deft swing of a machete makes a hole in the top of the coconut, for a tube that would make the coconut convenient to drink. Do you want to know a little trick? Ask the vendor to pour the water into a cup and chop the coconut in half. Don’t let all the nutrients in the coconut go to waste, because inside is the tender coconut flesh, which is easy to eat with a spoon.
How producers spoil coconut water
Coconut water for sale usually comes from Southeast Asia or Brazil and is always processed. Companies that sell coconut water realized at some point that they could buy cheaply mature coconuts and use them to make different versions of this naturally delicious and incredibly nutritious beverage. Heat treating the coconut water increases the shelf life of the product, and sweeteners mask the blandness of mature coconut. Sure, heat kills bacteria and extends shelf life, but the heat treatment process also destroys nutrients. As a result, only the name will be left of the real coconut water in the finished drink that hits the market shelves. The benefits of such a product are very questionable, given the addition of sweeteners. Therefore, when you come to the Dominican Republic, make yourself a real coconut detox.
How to make coconut milk
In the Dominican Republic coconut milk is used in many traditional dishes. Pescado con Coco (fish in coconut milk), Arroz con Gandules y coco (rice with peas and coconut milk) and Dulce de Coco (coconut shavings with coconut milk and sugar) are just some of the famous Dominican dishes that use coconut milk. Most Dominicans make coconut milk at home. The whole process of preparation does not take much time, and the result exceeds all expectations! And so, the pulp of one coconut thoroughly grind in a blender with coconut water and table water (300 grams). Strain the resulting mass through a fine sieve or gauze and enjoy real coconut milk.
Coconut Oil in the Dominican Republic
Coconut oil has been very popular with nutritionists, cosmetologists and culinary professionals for many years. The secret of success lies in the versatility of this product and its proven effectiveness. That is why coconut oil tops the top souvenirs that tourists bring from the Dominican Republic. You can buy coconut oil in souvenir shops, pharmacies and even in a regular supermarket for locals. The price is more than affordable considering the high quality of the product.
Coconut oil production in the Dominican Republic
Today, coconut oil production in the Dominican Republic is one of the most common types of production. The oil is exported to different countries around the world. Although nowadays modern technology is used to produce coconut oil, not so long ago Dominicans used to prepare such oil in their homes mainly with the help of improvised means. To begin with, they would let the coconut milk stand for 24 hours, then strain it and place it in a cool place where the coconut milk would stratify. Accordingly, a layer of coconut oil was formed at the top.
Benefits of coconut oil
Did you know that one jar of coconut oil you bring back from the Dominican Republic can replace dozens of your skin and hair care products! Real coconut oil contains no flavorings, thickeners or preservatives, making it a 100% hypoallergenic product. Let’s break down how to use coconut oil.
- It will saturate your skin with moisture
If you have dry, flaky skin, coconut oil is exactly what you need. Use it instead of moisturizer and the effect will not last long. Regular use of coconut oil is proven to increase collagen production and smooth wrinkles.
- It will speed up your metabolism and give you a slim figure
Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid, also known as medium chain triglyceride. It is a healthy fat with no trans fat. The acid particles go straight to the liver, increasing energy and metabolism. This helps in weight loss. You can consume a few tablespoons of coconut oil a day to get your body back in shape.
- It will speed up the healing of cuts and sunburns
Use coconut oil to help your skin recover from sunburns faster. Cold-pressed oil containing a large amount of saturated acids is suitable for treating the affected skin. In order to speed up the process of skin regeneration, supplement coconut oil with lavender oil.
- It will give you smooth and even skin
Forget about expensive and aggressive scrubs! Mix equal amounts of sugar and coconut oil to create a luxurious product for cleansing and nourishing your skin. Instant skin softening and a glowing appearance is guaranteed.
- Suitable for high-temperature frying
Because of its high smoke point, coconut oil is better suited for high-temperature frying, as it does not emit carcinogens, unlike other oils. Also, when heated, coconut oil does not lose its beneficial properties.
- It can be used as a coffee creamer
You won’t believe it, but coconut oil can be used as a cream substitute. Some people even use it to soften the flavor of coffee.
- Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
According to Health Impact News, coconut oil can actually have a positive effect on blood sugar levels, so it reduces the risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes.
- Controls weight
Coconut oil is easy to digest and improves digestion, so it’s great for those watching their weight.
- Supports immunity
Coconut oil contains healthy fats, lauric and caprylic acids, which can strengthen the immune system and create a kind of barrier to bacteria and viruses.