Darkening Buko Bits…

There are reasons why we should keep buko meat soaked in its own water. We set aside the primary reason, we want to keep the delicious water for later drinking.

buko young coconut bits beginning to darken

Keeping the young coconut meat color is of great importance. It is beautifully white right after opening but begins to change color after a while. It becomes dark, somewhat of a violet complexion. No immediate change of flavor but the off appearance seems to make it inferior.

I think it is a browning reaction but the resulting color is not literally brown. Do you think a violet reaction is more appropriate?

I tried finding explanation for this but failed. Maybe information is scarce or I was feeling lazy digging deeper. What I found were netizen words.

Steph said, coconut and its milk darken upon exposure to air. Bleaching agent is used to keep its white color.

What!? Bleaching agent for coconut. White sugare are bleached. Dried fruit candies are often bleached to keep vibrant. Sodium metabisulfite/ erythorbate is used for fruits. Sodium compound, which I do not know the specifics, is for refined sugar. Probably, sodium compound is used for coconut meat too. Please someone confirmed this.

Cocopurps said someone got ill after consuming young coconut with purplish meat and water. Further described coconut water as muddy juice.

So the discoloration is an early sigh of spoilage. Sign that it should not be consumed once the color changes. As for me, the color alone is not a reliable sign. I experienced severe diarrhea by drinking buko juice with bits. The taste, color and aroma were fine.

From the same forum, Ceidren added, imported Tai coconuts are treated with formaldehyde, an extremly toxic chemical.

This one is scary. A fatal chemical in edibles.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

How They Wrap The Spirally Wrapped Suman?

I am not interested on suman. What I am interested in is how they are wrapping it. I find wrapping the regular suman sa lihiya hard, using a relatively narrower leaf would be harder. I say it is more of an art rather than science, a method that cannot be duplicated by any machinery. Maybe it is only hard for the start and eventually becomes easier as one gets used to it.

suman 1

The outermost covering is a plastic string. Perhaps gathered from a rice sack, the cheapest and readily available source of tie for holding suman wrapping together. It is hugging on four sides and meeting on the center forming an easy to untie ribbon.

suman sack plastic tie

I am guessing this is the tip, end wrap. It is bent and held by the plastic tie. Removing the tie gives access to leaf end which unwrap the food easily and fast. It is way easier and way faster than unwrapping a suman in banana leaves. It is what we call “easy open” in modern packaging. The kind preferred by consumers and taking advantage of by manufacturers.

suman coconut leaf end wrap

I thought it was a coconut leaf broken into halves. It is actually a whole leaf, flattened and stick removed. It was carefully removed not to separate the two parts apart.

young flattened coconut leaf

And, this fold is the start. The packaging is formed by making a fold like this at the start and continue turning the leaf around until a tube capable of holding a raw glutenous rice mixture is achieve.

suman coconut leaf start wrap

Maybe coconut leaves are better suman wrapping. However, they are harder to get, not to mention banana trees are small and leaves are almost within reach.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

The Dessicated Coconut

Pandecoco, from the word pandesal and coconut. A bread which appearance is not similar to pandesal . It is round and has slightly flat appearance. It is more like a ham bread for burger making, but with a smooth shiny surface and a sweetened coconut filling.

The other bread with coconut is macaroon. However, unlike pandecoco, its coconut filling is almost tasteless. Its like a coconut meat stripped of its juice, sapal. The sapal that is usually thrown away or use as feed for native chickens.

Lately, I was intrigued with the graham balls. It was delicious so I asked my wife to make some for me. One of its side ingredients is the dessicated coconut. It taste good when eaten with the graham balls but a real turn off when eaten as is. It taste like sapal which is usually used for macaroons.

The image below is the pack of dessicated coconut. Mama bought it from the place I least expected, from the nearby public market. I only see it before in popular supermarkets. I could not remember the cost but it is very affordable.

pack of dessicated coconutThere could only be one thing that encourages the production of affordable but lower quality dessicated coconut. It is the virgin coconut oil industry. Coconut meat that are stripped of water and oil are being cleaned, dried and packed as dessicated coconut. The dried product have a long shelf life expectancy as most of the oil which is prone to rancidity is removed.

dessicated coconut close up view

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

The Macapuno Nut Bytes

We were invited to macapuno processing area. They were processing and selling sweetened macapuno and macapuno bucayo to partially fund the macapuno tissue culture project. The inviter wanted us to buy some of their sweet products. Only sweetened macapuno was available so we had a free taste of it and bought half kilo each.

The real area purpose is propagating tissue cultured macapuno tree. The coconut embryos are being extracted and grown inside test tubes under controlled environment. Instead of discarding the coconut meat, they are processing and selling it as additional source of funds.

The native macapuno tree bears nuts with only 1-3 macapuno per bunch. Bearing all non-macapuno nut is likely. When a tissue cultured makapuno seedling is grown, it can bear as much as 80% percent macapuno nuts (need more confirmation though).

A 100 percent macapuno yield is often not possible due to cross pollination with regular coconut trees – pollination by insects and wind. The suggested solution is plant the whole island with tissue cultured macapuno tree.

The nut when fully matured is almost filled with soft meat (compared to hard meat of regular). The macapuno nuts below are probably still immature and perhaps the right harvest stage for embryo extraction and sweets processing. Or maybe just a regular coconut. I forgot to asked about it.

coconut regular macapunoA regular nut produce sounds when shaken. The sound of water striking to inner walls. The macapuno due to its fullness, never produce this sounds. The two nuts are sorted by means of this property.

Macapuno, like the picture above are scraped carefully to produce long meat strands for sweetened product making. Remaining meat is scraped again with a spoon  and used for making bukayo.

empty macapuno shellsMacapuno tissue culture may not be the right term. The germination rate of macapuno nut is very low. By extracting the embryo and growing it inside the laboratory, the chance of germination can be increased. According to our boss, the more appropriate term is embryo rescue or bio rescue.

I bought the sweetened macapuno for my wife who recently gave birth to a baby girl. However, mother-in-law said she cannot eat macapuno yet. The reason – she is breastfeeding.

sweetened macapuno PE

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Advanced Method of Coconut and Sugar Palm Sap Collection

If the budget and resources permit then below is the ideal method of sap collection for coconut and sugar palm.

A small house in center of 500 to 1,000 coconut plantation. Several large polyethylene hoses run through the farm. Then numerous smaller polyethylene hoses are connected to large ones. The hose end have wider tips to fit the coconut infloresence.

After cutting the coconut infloresence, a hose is fitted. The sap will flow continously from cut infloresence, to small hose, to larger hose then to a centralize collection chamber.  Important pre-processing  procedures maybe done here before transport to main processing area.

Possible advantages:

1) Less labor. Fit the hose to cut infloresence and the sap will flow continously to centralize collection tank.

2) May skipped or lessened the repeated trimming of cut infloresence. The enclosed system prevents stalk drying.

3) More yield. Longer stalk life span means longer collection period and more harvest.

4) Less contamination. Automated and eclosed system means less contamination. No dirt from air, leaves and other trees. No rain water infusion during rainy days.

5) More control. Harvest and process sap every hour for maximum sugar yield, for sugar and syrup production. Harvest twice or thrice a day for alcohol and vinegar production.

The same is true with sugar palm and nipa palm.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.