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.
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Photo: Roberto Verzo