Posts Tagged ‘coconut’

Coconut Sugar

March 9, 2015

 

4093600152_compThe coconut seems to be the source of many healthy byproducts. We have long been aware of the hydrating benefits of pure coconut water, the dairy free milk that comes from inside the coconut, and the plethora of things that can be done with coconut oil. Recently, we have been hearing more and more about the natural sugar that is derived from the coconut tree.
Often referred to as coconut palm sugar, it is a naturally occurring sugar made from the sap of the plant,which is extracted and heated to create the commercially used sugar.

While regular table sugar and high fructose corn syrup don’t contain any vital nutrients, coconut sugar does.

Among the minerals found in coconut sugar are iron, zinc, calcium and potassium. TIt also contains various antioxidants and a fiber called inulin, which may slow glucose absorption.

So, should we be replacing all of our sugar and sugar substitutes with coconut palm sugar? Maybe, or maybe not.

The American Diabetes Association warns that the claims regarding the low glycemic index ranking of coconut sugar were not tested, and that the use of coconut sugar should be treated the same as that of regular table sugar. Both products have the same amount of calories and carbohydrates per teaspoon.

Another downside of coconut sugar is that the tree cannot produce both coconut sugar and actual coconuts, which are the source for coconut oil, coconut milk and shredded coconut. It’s lack of sustainability is a concerning factor for both producers and consumers.

Like honey and agave, coconut sugar is another sweetener that does not provide health benefits, but could potentially be better for you than white table sugar.The verdict: None of these should be considered “health foods,” and should be used sparingly.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Homemade Granola

August 15, 2012

I have never been keen on granola, but once I tried this homemade version, I am hooked!

Since discovering the high iron content of dried fruits and nuts, I was inspired to whip up another batch tonight.  It is quick and easy, and has none of the additives found in the store bought versions.  It does pack some calories, so use it as I do: as a topping for plain Greek yogurt and fruit.

Here is the ultimate “unrecipe”. Use this as a guideline and tailor it to suit your taste.

Homemade Granola:

Mix together 2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats (dry oatmeal), 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, 1 cup of slivered almonds, ¼ cup vegetable oil, and about ¼ cup of honey. Stir to coat and pour onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees, stirring often until golden brown. This should take about 30 minutes. Watch it carefully: it goes from brown to burnt quickly!

Remove the granola from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Add diced dried fruit to taste. I used a combination of figs, apricots and cranberries. Dried cherries could be a nice addition too. You can also add some additional nuts, such as cashews or pecans. Sprinkle with a little brown sugar to sweeten, and mix well.

Store the cooled granola in an airtight container and enjoy!


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