Kathleen Purvis Q&A

All those coconuts can be head-scratchers

January 22, 2013 

Q: I saw a cookie recipe that called for thawed, frozen coconut instead of regular packaged coconut. What makes one better than the other?

Coconut comes in so many forms, it can be confusing. There are green coconuts and brown coconuts, fresh coconut, frozen coconut and dried coconut.

By “regular packaged coconut,” I’m guessing you mean the sweetened coconut that comes in a bag, sometimes called angel-flake. It’s harder to find, but you also can find it unsweetened. The sweetened kind is usually soaked in a sugar syrup. It sometimes comes in a can instead of a bag, and it’s often used in baking because it’s so easy to find.

I like to use frozen coconut in cooking for two reasons: It’s not sweetened and it has a softer, more natural texture. Once it’s thawed, it’s more like freshly grated coconut.

In many recipes, you can exchange the two. The bagged coconut will be drier and will have a slightly chewier texture.

Email food and cooking questions to Kathleen Purvis at kpurvis@charlotteobserver.com.

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