Nata de Coco

Nata de Coco

Do you know what is that gummy like, , white and sometimes colorless cubes in your favorite fruit salad? Yes, that ingredient which gives you the feeling that you are eating sweetened compact plastic. It is called Nata de Coco in Spanish. Which means cream (nata) from (de) the coconut. I have tried making one myself way back in high school. Making nata de coco is quite interesting because it requires one to be patient and very careful. This is so, because unlike baking cake, where you can enjoy the pastry after an hour or so, making nata de coco takes almost two weeks to form. So we have the "harvesting" stage in the process. Let me give yoy the step by step procedure to come up with one delicious nata de coco. First, let me tell you the ingredients and equipment you will be using. Be sure to prepare 10 liters of fresh coconut water, 5 cups white sugar, 2/3 cup glacial acetic acid, 6 cups mother liquor, a coconut grater, plastic pail with 100 liter capacity, a plastic basin, weighing scale, square plastic container, whire whip and a sieve. From the ingredients dictated, glacial acetic acid is probably the uncommon material. You can get this stuff from chemical laboratories or stores, the rest of the ingredients, I presume are just within your reach.

Before we continue, let me remind you that we are making nata de coco from Coconut water. Later on I shall give you the alternative to make nata out of Coconut Milk (the thing is you need coconut). If you have resourcefully completed all the ingredients and equipment, you are now ready to embark on the exciting task of making it. Firstly, sieve the coconut water to remove the foreign objects in it. After that, add the 5 cups of sugar for every 10 liters of coconut water. Then proceed by heating it over until steams appear on the surface. (Remember: do not boil). Having done that, remove the solution from the heat and add 6 cups mother liquor and 2/3 glacial acetic acid. Then, you must stir it well and afterwards transfer the mixture into the containers (the square plastic containers will serve as the fermentation site) which is 1 ½ -2 inches high. Lastly, cover them with paper and do not agitate the mixture within 10-12 days. Now, you see why patience should be an added ingredient in this task. Moreover, making nata out of coconut milk is much the same, however let me still give you the things that matter when making nata the other way. For the ingredients, you will need 1 kilo grated coconut, 2 kilo of white sugar, 400 ml glacial acetic acid (there it goes again), 5 liter mother liquor or starter culture and 28 liters water. By the way, you can use the same equipment mentioned in preparing for nata de coco from coconut water. What differentiates this preparation from the first, is that you have to extract the milk from the grated coconut. How will you accomplish this? Easy. Empty the grated coconut in a basin or any available container and then add 2 liters cold water. Then, using both your hands, take some amounts of the grated coconut and squeeze, until milk is extracted (give your hands and arms a little work out there). You must allow the extract to filter into a cheesecloth while repeating this procedure. Now, you are ready to create your nata de coco masterpiece. Firstly, combine the coconut milk with a 24-liter water to make a 28-liter solution needed for the recipe. Secondly, add the 2 kilo sugar into the solution, make sure that sugar is dissolved well. You are almost through but first transfer the mixture into the sterilized fermenting containers (note: maintain the height or measure of more or less than 600 mil if placed in a container other than the fermentation container). Finally! Cover the container with paper and secure it with a rubber band. Afterwards, leave the mixture in a safe place for 8 to 10 days.

Now, allow me to guide you on how to harvest the nata de coco (this is my favorite part). You know, this dessert ingredient can be really delicious but it can also smell and taste sour, depending on how you do the following procedure. Firstly,clean the nata by removing the creamy materials on its lower part. You can do this by using a smooth stick. Then, cut the nata in squares, subject to you desired size. After this, soak the nata in water for 1 to 2 days and always make sure to change the water several times to remove the sour taste and smell. After 1 to 2 days you can remove the nata from soaking. The last procedure would be to weigh and place the nata into the casserole with enough water. Bring to a boil for about 5-10 minutes. Then…Wallahh! your nata de coco is now ready to be used as ingredients for dessert preparations!What is the sense of knowing all these? Well, for your information nata de coco is the most popular export item made out of coconut water. It is exported to countries like Japan, Singapore and other Asian countries. Learning the art of making nata de coco is one thing we should take advantage of in a tropical country like the Philippines, endowed with coconut trees (the main component in the recipe). Aside from saving money on your fruit salad or any other dessert ingredients, nata de coco can be a good source of additional income. So the next time you encounter those white gummy sweets, remember the possibility of making one yourself, it's worth the try.

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