A Little Bit Of Milk Helps To Revive Dried Coconut

There may be no greater satisfaction than successfully cracking open a ripe coconut, but if prying open the drupe seems like more than you bargained for, then dried coconut is a great stand-in. Depending on the recipe, it might even be a better choice. Yet, should dehydrated coconut be a touch too brittle for your liking, a splash of milk is all it takes to freshen it up again.

Dried coconut in any form — large flakes, thinly shredded segments, or finely ground — lacks moisture due to processing, which isn't actually a bad thing. Adding contrasting texture as a garnish for silky soups, velvety curries, and luscious puddings, dried coconut's virtually moisture-free nature means it also produces the crispiest coating for fried foods like a crunchy chicken katsu. While dried coconut serves a purpose or two, sometimes flakes and fragments can be too bone-dry for certain culinary applications. In which case, it doesn't take much to rehydrate it. The best way to revitalize tough strands of dried coconut is also one of the easiest ways to do so; simply reintroduce moisture with the help of milk.

What to remember when using milk to refresh dried coconut

Of the many ingredients that can technically be used to rehydrate coconut, milk is the most effective. Unlike water, the dairy-based beverage imparts extra richness. That said, either full-fat or skim milk will do the trick, but you can also use whatever you happen to have on hand, including plant-based milks made with nuts, oats, or rice. To really amplify flavors, however, we recommend wetting the dried coconut with coconut milk.

The process of using milk to rehydrate coconut can be carried out in a few different ways based on the amount of dried coconut and the degree of flexibility you hope to achieve. For example, to freshen up a handful of shriveled and shredded coconut, you'll only need to drizzle a modest amount of milk over the pieces. After letting them rest in the milk for several minutes, the coconut will absorb the liquid, resulting in bits that are plumper and fluffier. Otherwise, to transform flakes to the point where they can substitute fresh coconut, shards must soak in milk (preferably warmed) for up to an hour before being strained and worked into recipes.

For times when you can't get your hands on fresh fruit, rehydrating dried flakes with milk can deliver the same great tastes and textures with ease. Whip up these delicate coconut candied carrots, soaking dried coconut slightly, and taste for yourself!