As you all know I’m a Caribbean from a very hot region in The Dominican Republic-Sosua located in the country’s North coastline. What you don’t know is why I love summer time, is not because is hot and I can move faster or get out of the house quicker with a pair of sandals..I love summer in New York City for the coconuts!
I clearly remember when we were kids in the Dominican Republic how coconuts were a business to the family. When visiting my grand mother in Gaspar Hernandez -a now tourist place back in the days their main base of income was cattle and agriculture. My family’s property and their surroundings were full of palms, tropical flowers and plants in front of the beach. My grand father used to own acres of lands fill with coconut tress, he was one of the big players in the field. In the back of the house there was a huge burner under an open hut, the smell after 5:00pm was sweet, the workers will move the coconuts around with a huge wood paddle until done for coconut oil, and/or milk.
Before leaving back to Sosua where I grew up my grand mother used to asked one of the workers to climb up and get us coconuts with his machete. We were always amazed of how fast he could climb up and down. Grandma would also send us off with green plantains, yautia, guineitos, and what ever else was there to share.Every summer here in New York City I get excited because I know tropical products will be in season. In uptown Manhattan I have a lady I visit all summer long just to get coconut juice, sugar cane, and mango. She is only available early June until end of summer because she sells from her van. Here is a picture of her with her machete cutting a coconut for me.
My coconut was young, fresh, it had a sweet, rich aroma. Young coconuts have more water and soft, gel-like meat (which by the way is the perfect texture for a very delicate Dulce de Coco or Coconut Milky Dessert), and mature coconuts have firm meat and less water.
Thankfully, that misguided coconut era is over. The coconut is receiving long-overdue accolades as a highly nutritious food, and today I found a brand called VitaCoco and I just had to taste. I instantly felt in love it didn’t have that weird fake taste that other brands have this is a legit business and I’m not sure yet where they pack their products or where the coconuts come from but I love them.
There are so many recipes not only for summer time but all year around from Coconut Mango Salsa, Rice Pudding, sauces …the list is long. Let’s not forget cocktails and try using coconut water in your next meal!