By Morwenna Kearns
It's a drupe, not a nut, but who cares? We're coco for coconuts. They're packed with good stuff and are used in more products than you might think. Here are some of our favourites.
Put the lime in the coconut
One of the big food trends of the last few years, coconuts are full of fibre and vitamins, with the clear water containing rehydrating electrolytes. They're also dee-lish. Put the flavour front and centre with these recipes for lemongrass, apple and coconut curry with coconut rice, and follow it up with coconut-coated carrot cake bites or an obviously unhealthy coconut and banana salted caramel cream pie. You can even get frozen coconut from Tesco now, which reduces food waste and kitchen mess.
Seriously, coconut is sneaking into so much food right now, and some of it you wouldn't even notice. Coconut sugar is used as a healthier alternative to refined cane sugar in desserts (try this mint-as fudge recipe – nom nom), you'll find coconut cream or even coconut blossom nectar in chocolate, and coconut oil's high smoking point makes it a handy choice for cooking. Beware though: coconuts do pack a lot of saturated fat so doctors recommend you go easy when frying. And, DYK dried coconut flesh bears a striking resemblance to dried meat? MightyBee has twigged this and has made meat-free jerky out of it. Coconuts are also masquerading as dairy products: both Sainsbury's and Tesco have released vegan-friendly cheeses in the last year made with coconut oil, and Cheezly coconut-based dairy-free mozzarella is now topping Domino's pizzas.
A multi-purpose drupe
Coconut fans will be happy to list the many, many purposes coconut oil can be used as a bodycare product. Long used as a deliciously scented hair treatment, try Natural World's coconut water haircare collection or Bouclème's curl-boosting hair cream, or make your own avo-coco DIY hair mask for a hydration hit. It's great for skin too, of course: natural skincare products from XO Balm, The Soap Kitchen, Miss Patisserie, Chocolate Sun, Kind Natured, MOA and more all contain it. And, if you can stop yourself from drinking it, this coconut and rosewater face mask is ideal for a Friday night facial. Dr. Bronner's All-One Toothpaste contains coconut flour as well as coconut oil to clean teeth naturally and you can even use coconut oil to clean your make-up brushes. Now that's versatility.
Tropical from head to toe
You may well have wiped your feet on a coconut husk doormat today, and your shoes themselves may contain the coconuts' fibrous exterior, called coir, too. Check out ethical footwear brand Po-Zu, which puts a cleverly comfy, shock-absorbing coconut husk Foot-Mattress in its shoes. Hey, why not go totally tropical with its styles made from Piñatex – a vegan alternative to leather made from pineapples, also found in cool handbags. Or if you just want a beachy scent, try Schmidt's Coconut Pineapple sensitive deodorant or the Coconut & Elderflower home fragrance from Ecoya.