Many people have heard of coconut flakes, but few know what kind of product they are. Some think it is just dried up pieces of coconut that you can add to your cereal or mix into yogurt, while others believe it to be pure coconut meat.
The truth is, there is no such thing as “pure” coconut meat. That is why some refer to it as desiccated coconut. The word coconut comes from the Spanish term coco, which means “dirt or soil like substance.” When harvested dry, the white fleshy part of the coconut becomes brownish-gray powder referred to as coconut meat.
But this meat isn’t quite the same as eating an actual fresh piece of coconut. When dried, the texture is different and some recipes may not work because the nutritional value is lower due to drying out the protein content.
This article will discuss the differences between dried coconut milk, coconut flour, and dried shredded coconut.
Why are they different?
People often get confused about what desiccated coconut is. They think that it is just dried, shredded coconut which has some of its water content removed. This is not true at all!
Dried coconut does not contain any moisture or milk. That is why there is a funny name for dried coconut – flake-style dehydrated coconut. It is simply called “coconut flakes” or sometimes even “desiccated coconut.”
Coconuts normally have an inner layer of white fat that contains small amounts of liquid (mammary secretions). When this solid fat is scraped off, you end up with a very dry piece of coconut meat. The reason we call this dried coconut is because these pieces of coconut do not contain any liquid.
This can be confusing since many people refer to dried coconut as ‘dehydrated coconut.’ Drying something removes moisture, but if you add water again, it will rehydrate the material. Melted chocolate chips are a good example of this – they will not set into hard bars like dried out chocolate chips would.
I learned the difference between dried and dehydrated food in college when I was vegetarian. My favorite snack while studying was dried apple chips – they tasted great and were almost impossible to find anywhere.
What are the differences between the two?
While both consist of only water, coconut flakes have additional ingredients such as baking soda or sweeteners that alter their function. The reason they add these is to make them more easily digestible so your body can use the nutrients better.
Desiccated coconut has no additives other than pure water. It is usually dried and packaged in bags which you should check to see if it has gone bad (odor-free and not too dry).
It may be cheaper to buy coconut flake, but desiccated coconut will still do the trick! If there is a difference in cost, then buying the one with “pure” coconut would be our recommendation since it has nothing else mixed into it.
Which is better for you?
Recent studies have determined that coconut flakes are not much different than eating dry, desiccated coconut. Both include large amounts of calories! While some people may feel healthier eating the more traditional type of coconut, they both contain around 500 kcal per ¼ cup (about 100 grams).
That’s about the same amount of energy! The only difference is that dried coconut has less water, so it is easier to consume them in larger quantities because you don’t need to chew and swallow the extra liquid.
Because they are high in fat and calorie content, either one can contribute to weight gain if you aren’t careful with them. Therefore, it is important to be aware of your intake and how many carbs you should eat along with it.
There are ways to enjoy coconut even more, though. For example, adding fresh or salted coconut into most any meal or drink will give you a healthy boost.
Desiccated coconut is more nutritious
While not technically considered to be flaked or shredded dried coconut, desiccated coconut has gotten quite some attention lately. Many people seem to think that it is simply white coconut meat that you can add into dishes and taste much like dry rice.
It is true that desiccated coconut does contain some nutritional value. It contains about half the fat of fresh coconut, but it also packs in twice the protein! That means if you love coconut, you should try to limit your intake of plain old coconut flakes to reduce your risk of health problems.
Desiccated coconut can be used in both sweet and salty recipes so it is better to know what differences exist between them.
Coconut flakes are more affordable
While both coconut products- desiccated coconut and dried shredded coconut– do not have any nutritional value, one is much cheaper than the other. If you love baking with either ingredient, start buying your snacks in bulk to save some money!
Dried coconut comes in it’s most common form – plain white chunks that look like large pieces of sugar. This type of coconut can be stored for years if properly protected from moisture!
Desiccated coconut has anywhere between three and five times the water content of fresh coconut. It will also cost half as much! Because it is dry and fluffy, it can be used in many ways in cooking or to enhance flavorings.
Coconut flakes may contain less fat
Although both coconut products are considered to be healthful, is dried or desiccated coconut actually the same as coconut flake?
No, they’re not! While both contain some nutritional value, there are some major differences.
First, let us compare the price- cula that coconut flakes cost more than one times the amount of coconut powder! This makes it more expensive in comparison. If you like the taste of coconut, then spending extra money on coconut powder can be worth it.
Second, coconut flour does not have any salt added to it during processing. It also does not need to be mixed into recipes with other dry ingredients because it contains the needed moisture.
Third, while both coconut products are high in nutrition, coconut powder has almost twice the number of calories per tablespoon compared to coconut bread.
Coconut flakes may contain more sugar
While both coconut products are considered healthful, there is some controversy about whether one is healthier than the other. A small difference in ingredient list can make a big difference!
A couple of ingredients that desiccated (dry) coconut does not have is salt. This could be an issue if you like salty foods or want to use the product to make recipes.
Some people believe that adding enough water to dried coconut will take away all of its nutritional value. However, this isn’t true. Once again, it depends on what you want from your coconut.
If you like the flavor of dry salted coconut, then don’t worry about it! Just add a few drops of liquid and mix well until it forms a paste.
What if I like both?
While not technically considered a grain, coconut is often categorized with grains because it’s marketed towards people who want to eat healthy. Because of this, most recipes that call for coconut either require you to use dried coconut or coconut flakes.
There are two main types of dried coconut: desi-coconut and nondehydrated (or dehydrated) coconut. Desiccant-coconut has an ingredient label that lists salt or sugar as the first ingredient. Nondezinculated coconut does not have these additives so it can be easier to identify in food labels.
Desiccant coconut will sometimes say “enriched” on the package. This doesn’t mean it has extra vitamins, but rather that it has some type of salt added to it. These salts help balance the nutritional profile of your diet while also helping retain moisture in the coconut.