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Top Pick Of The Week

August 9 , 2011

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Coconut Water

Coconut water with fresh or canned lychees is a refreshing treat. Some brands also make coconut water-lychee juice blends, but adding the actual fruit is even better. Photo by Deasy Setiawati Widjaja | Dreamstime.

WHAT IT IS: Liquid from the interior of immature (green) coconuts.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: The terms “coconut water” and “coconut juice” are used interchangeably for a watery liquid that is about 46 calories a cup (it differs by brand and flavored coconut waters are higher). Much higher-calorie coconut products include coconut nectar, a sap from the tree (analogous to maple syrup); coconut milk, pressed from the dried meat of the mature coconut; and coconut cream, a thicker version of coconut milk (less moisture).
WHY WE LOVE IT: It's another option for a refreshing drink that’s low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals.
WHERE TO BUY IT: At retailers nationwide.

 

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Coconut Water: An Ancient Drink For A New Millennium

CAPSULE REPORT: “Nature’s sports drink.” “Rehydrates more effectively than water.” “The only naturally isotonic beverage!” “More nutritious than whole milk.”


Perhaps you’ve seen these and other claims about coconut water (a.k.a. coconut juice), the drinkable darling of the moment. But what is coconut water? And do the claims have any validity?

This week’s Top Pick takes on these and other questions.

Coconut water is relatively new to the U.S., but has been consumed for millennia in tropical countries, where the green coconuts that contain the water can be plucked from the trees.


Coconut water has become impressively fashionable in America in just a few short years. When Vita Coco was introduced here in 2004, coconut water had minimal visibility and sales were confined to certain ethnic neighborhoods. Now, celebrities are regularly photographed drinking it.


A mere five years later, according to a Merrill Lynch report, sales of coconut water were about $35 million. But growth since then has been even more impressive: U.S. coconut water sales will top $350 million this year.

We drink our fair share of coconut water. But we wonder:

  • Are the purported health benefits accurate?
  • Which brands taste the best?
  • What about the flavors, the powders, the pasteurized versions and the “not from concentrate” varieties?


Keep reading!

Where Does Coconut Water Come From?

The lucky ones among us have enjoyed coconut water at a tropical beach—or in an urban Chinatown restaurant or juice bar—where you can sip the juice from a just-opened green coconut. Sometimes the green rind is carved away to reveal the pristine white mesocarp* layer underneath, free of any bruises that can occur from harvesting the tender fruit.

Fresh coconut water is a treat, and it's tastier than the pasteurized products. Put it on your food bucket list. In the interim, there’s a plentiful selection of packaged brands for you to explore. We’ve reviewed 14 brands, including plain and flavored coconut waters.

Check out the article index below and decide where to start.

— Stephanie Zonis

*Some botanical families of fruit have a three-layer pericarp instead of a simple rind or skin: the exocarp (outer layer), mesocarp (middle layer) and endocarp (inner layer).

     
THE NIBBLE has been reviewing the finest foods in America since 2004.
Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories. Product reviews are by a unanimous vote of our Editorial Committee. We do not accept placement fees: All products have earned their way into our webzine due to excellence.

Coconut Recipes Galore

Luscious Coconut Desserts by Lori Longbotham Coconut Lover's Cookbook by Bruce Fife Spunky Coconut Grain Free Baked Goods And Desserts, by Kelly V. Brozyna

Luscious Coconut Desserts, by Lori Longbotham. A taste of paradise, from classic Coconut Creme Pie to Coconut Pistachio Baklava: cakes, tarts, cookies, custards, sauces and candies. More information.

Coconut Lover's Cookbook: 4th Edition, by Bruce Fife. From classic recipes like Coconut Battered Shrimp and Coconut Macaroons to tips on substituting coconut milk for dairy. More information.

Spunky Coconut Grain-Free Baked Goods and Desserts: Gluten Free, Casein Free, and Often Egg Free, by Kelly V. Brozyna. An innovative cookbook inspired by raw food. More information.

INDEX OF REVIEW

This is Page 1 of a seven-page article. Click on the black links to visit related pages:

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