I really find a lot of joy in bringing you some of the most unique and amazing natural food products from around the world, and this week I’ve got something so unusual and delightful that you’ll be amazed it even exists. It turns out thatcoconut trees produce a lot more than just coconuts and coconut oil. A whole spectrum of surprising food ingredients are derived from coconut trees, and you’ve probably never heard of most of them.
For example, did you know that coconut trees produce their own soy sauce? It’s not really made from soy, of course. It’s calledCoconut Aminos, and it’s a dark, amino acid liquid harvested directly from coconut tree sap. Containing 17 naturally-occurring amino acids, this sap is combined with mineral-rich sea salt to create a soy-sauce-like “aminos” liquid that can help flavor salads, raw vegan dishes, sauces or even Chinese stir-fried cuisine.
Think of it as a natural replacement for soy sauce, but with a deeper and more complex taste. You’ve got to try this to believe that it really comes from coconut trees!
And there’s another huge benefit, too: This “liquid aminos” product has absolutely no reactive MSG-like effects. That’s rare because even in the natural products industry, there are amino acid products that contain a small amount of naturally-occurring glutamic acid that can have an MSG-like effect on those who are sensitive to it (like me). But the aminos from this coconut sap are completely unadulterated and non-hydrolyzed, so they remain in their natural form and have no negative effects on people sensitive to MSG. You can read more about this here: http://coconutsecret.com/Tappingthesap2.html
This coconut liquid amino product, by the way, is 100% certified organic, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free and vegan!
Coconut nectar is naturally sweet and highly nutritious
The next item you may not have known about that comes from coconut trees is Coconut Nectar. It’s a very low glycemic liquid sweetener derived from the liquid sap of the coconut blossoms, and it naturally contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other nutrients (including vitamin C).
The manufacturer says the glycemic index of this liquid is 35, making it one of the lowest among any sweeteners. I haven’t yet been able to independently verify that claim, but we are in the process of doing that through additional lab tests. In the mean time, the natural fructose content of this coconut nectar is so amazingly low that it becomes an instant no-brainer replacement for agave nectar. In fact, in my kitchen, I stopped using agave nectar quite a while ago and now use palm sugar crystals and coconut nectar.
Natural coconut blossom sap, by the way, is only 1.5% fructose when collected from the blossoms. As this sap is dried and thickened, removing much of the water, the fructose content of the final liquid only reaches about 10% — far lower than the 50% – 90% fructose found in agave nectar products.
If you take the coconut nectar described above and air dry it down to its crystalline form, you get coconut crystals! Think of it as “evaporated cane sugar” except it’s not from cane sugar. It’s from coconut tree blossoms and it has a far lower glycemic index than cane sugar.
These crystals are nutrient rich, loaded with vitamins and minerals, and they have a naturally brown or sandy color (indicating higher nutrition than white sugar). Although this product isn’t yet certified organic, that certification is pending, and it’s harvested from trees that are grown entirely without pesticides or herbicides.
Coconut vinegar – better than apple cider vinegar?
There are some really great apple cider vinegar products on the market that are used by health food enthusiasts everywhere, and they’re really good for you! But I think coconutvinegar may be even better because it comes from a source that’s naturally higher in minerals and other phytonutrients.
It’s high in potassium, for example, and also quite abundant in a naturally-occurring probiotic called FOS. Although vinegar is chemically acidic, it is believed to create an alkalizing effect inside the body during digestion, probably due to its high content ofalkalizing minerals.
This coconut vinegar is made by aging (fermenting) coconut sap from coconut tree blossoms. This is raw, certified organic coconut vinegar made from the sap, not coconut water. (There is a huge difference between “sap” vinegars and “water” vinegars in terms of nutritional density.