You Have to Try This One! Spicy Coconut Jerky


Cooking is so… November. Summer is the perfect time to bust out the dehydrator and make low-temperature, easy, tasty treats. The meat of those yummy young coconuts you buy just for the liquid is extremely versatile; so don’t throw it away! You can puree it into smoothies, soups, nondairy milks, dressings, desserts and of course, eat it plain. Or, you can make a really great tasting jerky. No lie.

If you’ve spent any time in Mexico, maybe you’ve see those vendors selling spiced fresh coconut meat. This is essentially the same recipe, only dehydrated into a chewy and incredibly delicious jerky (dare I say scrumptious with a straight face? Yep!). It’s good eats plain, or wrap it up in some fresh lettuce leaves with avocado, shredded carrots, fresh garden cucumbers and juicy tomatoes.

Take coconut jerky along on the trail or on any of your summertime activities. It’s a great re-fuel food that won’t weigh you down. And it’s most certainly a crowd pleaser.


Meat of 2-3 young coconuts sliced in strips (Important: It’s often very difficult to predict the meat content of a coconut, so always get a few more than you think you need. Some can come completely meat-free.)

Juice of 1-2 limes

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon coarse mineral salt

½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

½ teaspoon cumin


Marinate the coconut strips in the marinade for 2-3 hours and then lay flat on dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 118 degrees for about 4-6 hours (though it all depends on how thick the meat is). It’ll pucker a bit like other jerky types, and the surface should feel dry, but you want it to still be chewy on the inside.

For a less spicy jerky, reduce or eliminate the heat from the cayenne and peppers. Also try experimenting with any of your favorite spices – tamari soy sauce, fresh ginger and garlic.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Photo: Roberto Verzo

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. Twitter @jillettinger |