Coconut flakes are a form of processed coconut and are sometimes referred to as flaked coconut. It is essentially the same thing as shredded coconut only instead of being broken down into shreds, the coconut is broken down into larger pieces.
While there is not a lot of historical documentation specifically about coconut flakes, coconuts have been in use in Southeast Asia since prehistoric times. In that part of the world, all parts of it are used including the inner flesh of the nut. The white inner part of the coconut is used for making coconut milk and for cooking. Most likely, some form of coconut flakes originated there as well as later on in the New World.
The best-documented history of coconut flakes suggests that they most likely originated in the same place as shredded coconut: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1895, Franklin Baker bartered with a Cuban merchant who paid him with coconuts.
Baker was a miller and could not come up with a way to sell off the stock of coconuts. Recognizing how difficult whole coconuts were to bake with, he eventually hit upon the idea of processing them for amateur and professional bakers. He outfitted his factory to break open and shred coconuts to make them suitable for use in a range of baked goods.
Today, processed coconut is available in several forms including shredded and flaked. The Franklin Baker company is still around producing coconut products, including coconut flakes.
Coconut flakes flavor profile
Coconut flakes have an almost creamy flavor profile due to their high-fat content. The rest of the flavor profile includes a subtle nuttiness with a hint of sweetness similar to a blend of caramel and vanilla.
Health benefits of coconut flakes
Coconut flakes have the same nutritional profile of any other form of coconut, which means that it offers only a few health benefits; however, they are very important ones. Coconut flakes’ nutrients include:
- Fiber: A high volume of insoluble fiber as well as some soluble fiber are arguably the most important benefits that coconut flakes offer in terms of nutrition.
- Iron: While coconut flakes don’t have a lot of iron, they contain enough of it to be worth mentioning and far more of it than any other mineral.
With enough coconut flakes in your diet, you can treat or prevent serious health problems like:
- Obesity: The soluble fiber in coconut flakes adds bulk with few calories and gives you a long-lasting feeling of fullness that can keep your appetite in check. Feeling full for longer can help you to eat less and lose weight as a result.
- Improved bowel health: Coconut flakes contain Insoluble fiber that absorbs liquid and helps to speed up your body’s waste-processing thus ensuring regular bowel movements.
- High cholesterol: The soluble fiber in coconut flakes can keep some of the cholesterol you consume from being absorbed by your body. As a result, it can lower the level of cholesterol in your blood and may help to prevent heart disease.
Many of the traditional applications for coconut flakes are similar to those for shredded coconut. You can use coconut flakes as a topping for a coconut cream pie, a coconut cake or in coconut cookies. Add them to curry to give it a coconut flavor and to add some texture or sprinkle coconut flakes over a salad as a healthier alternative to croutons.