A recent trip to Mexico preceded by Natural Products Expo inspired this post. Coconut water is a natural isotonic. Next to water it is the best way to rehydrate if you are dehydrated which is the main reason why athletes and weekend warriors alike are buying the retail brands Zico, O.N.E. and the high pressure pasteurized, Harmless Harvest.
I’ve tasted most of the retail coconut waters and can safely say that aside from having fresh coconut water right out of the coconut, the two brands mentioned are the best -bar none.
This is because the water is extracted from young coconuts, or rather coconuts that are about 7 months into their maturing process. The meat of the coconut has not yet developed. Zico and O.N.E. are manufactured in their country of origin which is Brazil.
Coconut water takes a little getting used to which is why these brands are adding natural flavor. Believe it or not but coconut waters do vary in flavor, not only from country to country but from tree to tree,
The Mexican coconuts above were very different in taste. The one on the right, known as Naranja because of its orange color, was sweeter than the greener ones on the left.
On Cozumel, I saw many coconut water cocktails. There was one called Mexican Gatorade which was made with rum that claimed you wouldn’t get a hangover from it. Indeed because of its rich potassium content, it does make a great refresher if you over imbibe. I like to make agua frescas using coconut water. With all this hot summer weather, this recipe is worth a try.
Using fresh is great but then you are left with having to deal with getting the meat out. The coconut pictured above is actually a mature coconut that I used in Shanghai while developing drinks for a client.
The recipes below use O.N.E. brand in the quart size package. I chose watermelon as the Chinese believe watermelon to be very cooling. You can try using strawberries and mangoes. If you use frozen fruit, you can omit the ice.
Depending on the sweetness of the fruit, you might not need any simple syrup. Simple syrup is made easily by boiling 1 cup water with 1 cup of sugar until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool before using. During the summer I store simple syrup in the refrigerator so that I can make homemade lemonade and agua frescas anytime.
Coconut Agua Fresca
2 cups coconut water
1 cup fresh watermelon or cantelope, no rind
a few cubes of ice
simple syrup, to taste (Kim’s mint syrup would be a great choice)
In a blender place the ice, coconut water and cut up melon. Process until all the ice is broken up.
Add simple syrup, 3 Tbsp. at a time, until you get it to your desired sweetness. Pour into glasses and enjoy!