Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gelatinous Mutant Coconut

Today's foray into the world of un-sampled foods took me to a small international foods store, Mabuhay Ethnic Foods. The shopkeeper was personable and friendly, but the market was still being stocked and there was clearly some construction/remodeling going on which limited the selection and display space. My find of the day was a jar of Macapuno Strings, aka 'gelatinous mutant coconut'.
Clearly, any food labeled 'mutant' deserves shelf space in the Peculiar Pantry. For some unknowable reason, my mind decided to associate 'mutant coconut' with 'Zombie Apocalypse' and I spent the drive home mulling over macapuno-brain combinations. At $3.59, the entertainment alone was worth the purchase.

As it turns out, macapuno, aka 'sport coconut',  is a product of the Philippines, a naturally occurring genetic variation of the coconut that yields softer more abundant flesh and no milk. The flesh, rightly described as 'gelatinous', in its cane sugar & water packing liquid, has a much milder flavor than coconut, and would function well as a dessert topping.

Raspberry Jello with Macapuno

I found the texture a little off-putting when eaten alone, but quite liked it mixed into vanilla or coconut ice cream and added to jello (I used raspberry). Later in the week I plan to try it in a few savory applications, most likely an Asian dish.

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