Tuesday, 9 October 2012

COCONUT CRAZY



As Summer descends Australia’s fascination with coconut water/juice sends us into tropical spins. What is really in these so called glorious waters?
Coconut water is a good source of Potassium, along with some Calcium and Iron. Coconut water is not particularly rich in vitamins, but it does provide some Niacin, Folate, and vitamin C. These great tasting refreshing drinks occur naturally and are my preference over energy drinks as they don’t contain high fructose corn syrup or added sugar.  When choosing your coconut water steer clear of anything with added sugar, products such as stabilisers and go for how nature intended it… simple, easy, clean and clear.  For the past two years health nuts and locals have been going co-co crazy for anything defined ‘coconut’. With a little help from the below brands I’ve looked at each on their own merits. So humbly I offer my opinion on several brands after living in both Thailand and Mexico drinking my own body weight in coconuts….

COCK BRAND
Although rather randy by name, these delicious sweet drinks are imported fresh/frozen from Thailand (naturally sweeter coconuts), wholesaled and defrosted. Usually seen in a green and red cup with large chunks of fresh coconut meat floating in the bottom. You may have also consumed these at Miss Chu’s. They are to be kept in the fridge and consumed like fresh juice. The fresh young coconut pulp at the bottom is soft, juicy and the most succulent dessert but with 5% added sugar they are not what the dentist nor gym ordered. Great for a treat but steer clear of everyday consumption.

FRESH COCONUTS
Now buying a fresh coconut is an awesome way to really sample the true flavour. Not to be confused with coconut milk which is actually the juice of shredded coconut flesh pulped. Get a screw driver and ram a hole in the top with help from your house hammer,  stab with a straw and you have a ready-made juice popper. Available at most major supermarkets look for used by dates and keep them refrigerated. Young coconuts are best eaten at around 9 weeks old when they are filled with water and are yet to turn into the jelly like flesh. Only issue… the fridge runs out of room, the supermarket stock gets old quickly, it’s hard to carry a screw driver and hammer to work and local stores charge up to $6 a coconut. Highway robbery! It is however sweet, refreshing and has a wonderful soft silky quality to it that you just can’t seem to replicate.  Get your hands on them for holidays and when you’re at home with the hammer.

C 100% Pure organic coconut water from the Philippines (far less sweet than the Thai variant) is packed in Tetra pack to avoid sunlight. With no additives, preservative or any other nasty bits. Good news is they fit in the fridge. Better news; no added sugar. The boys behind the brand have also managed to be good to the environment. “We are carbon neutral and offset all our emissions when transporting our product around the world. C is dedicated to giving back to the Philippine community and donates seeds and grains for farming to the village surrounding the production facility.”  The taste is refreshing, light with a slightly earthly flavor, lightly salted but I missed the slightly soft feel of fresh coconuts. Great for after the gym ice cold, these 330ml babies also come with straws for ease of use and offer slightly larger servings than alternate brands. Best for the gym bag!
 
This Australian owned brand offers four options of coconut water in both natural, organic natural and with either Pomegranate + Acai or Pineapple. This 330ml serving of coconut water is also sourced in the Philippines as with the pineapple puree where the H2Coco manufacturing plant is located, whist the pomegranate and acai puree comes from the USA. The great news is this coconut water has a twelve month shelf life and only uses natural fruit, no nasty’s. I was expecting the pineapple to be an overwhelming onslaught of piña colada juice but was pleasantly surprised. Only lightly spiked it was fresh, barely sweeter than usual and not overwhelming at all. The Acai had a really vivid and powerful fruity smell but a milder taste which was pleasant and great early one morning when breakfast was left at home. Brilliant for smaller kids at school instead of traditional juice boxes packed with sugar. Get acai into you for a fruity antioxidant Friday.
Another proudly Australian owned brand Cocobella was one of the first to launch in Australia just over two years ago. 
Packaged at the source these 100% natural, no concentrate coconut waters are from Indonesia and Thailand. They come in four flavours- pineapple, straight up, pink guava and mango. The juice added to this brand is not overpowering but adds a good zing to the coconut water.  In a slighter smaller portion size of 250ml they also offer a larger 1L resealable take home sized box. Pure Cocobella ‘straight up’ was one of my favorite in the au-natural style. Probably as is came closest to the natural Thai coconuts I am used to having. My choice for au-natural.


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