Desiccated coconut can be used in many different cooking dishes, but lately we have been using it to decorate cakes. I once made a rabbit cake that I covered with plain white coconut for the rabbit’s fur, but sometimes I want to use coconut for something that isn’t white, so I have to colour it.
Coconut and food colouring in the bag.
Colouring desiccated coconut is a very easy process and only takes a few minutes. I prefer to use a zip-lock sandwich bag to mix the coconut and the food colouring together. I add some coconut, just roughly how much I think I will need, and then the food colouring to the bag. I make sure that the bag is securely shut prior to shaking it up to move the colour around. Usually I worked the colour around the bag with my fingers to make sure all of the coconut is exposed to the food colouring.
Ready to decorate with.
Because I wanted to use the coconut for grass, I coloured it green. The kids also helped me colour some yellow to be used as sand. They like to shake the bags up and squeeze it all over to spread the colour.
L asked what was inside a coconut. So we decided to buy one and see for ourselves.
Draining the milk.
Both kids held the coconut and touched its rough skin prior to us attempting to open it. Then Big L took a screwdriver to one of the coconut’s eyes, and pierced a hole into the centre. He drained some of the coconut’s milk out through this hole. L was surprised that this milk wasn’t white like cow’s milk, but she didn’t want to try drinking it.
A helped Big L put the milk through a fine sieve to remove the debris from the shell.
Sieving the milk.
Big L upgraded to a bottle opener to make the hole bigger so that the milk would drain more quickly, and he let each of the kids use a corkscrew in the hole too.
Using a corkscrew to open a hole in the coconut.
Once all the milk was drained, Big L used the dull side of a large knife to tap the coconut’s shell until it weakened, and he was able to cut the coconut open. The kids were fascinated by the white flesh inside the hairy brown shell. We explained to A that this was where the white stuff on the outside of lamingtons comes from (lamingtons being one of her favourite foods at the moment).
Unfortunately the coconut had a crack in the shell when we bought it (I can thank online grocery shopping for that) and some mould had grown in the crack, infiltrating the flesh, making the coconut unsuitable for eating. We did have fun opening it and seeing what was inside though, and I think we will probably get another one sometime so that we can try the fresh milk and flesh too.