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Posts Tagged ‘coconuts’

There’s certainly a plus to fertile soil, constant rain and amped-up grow seasons. Within fifty yards of my front door, for example, I can scrounge up avos, papayas, grapefruits, lemons, limes, coconuts, guavas, mac nuts and ginger. A lil’ walk around the ‘hood adds noni, mangos, aloe, apple bananas, mountain apples, tangerines, breadfruit, ‘shrooms (yeah, da kine), Hawaiian peppers, lemongrass, taro, sugarcane and pineapples. For a longer hike, I grab the backpack for coffee beans, cacao pods, sapote, soursop, jackfruit, dragonfruit, warabi, lychee, rambutan, starfruit… And that’s not even mentioning what’s planted in the garden or the amazing array of tropical flowers available to decorate a feast.

One machete, telescoping saw, fruit picker, spear and a dash of ingenuity (plus a little trespassing) and you can certainly survive off the land. The ability to climb a coconut tree doesn’t hurt either.

A locale with such a variety of fruits ripening at different times makes for fun foraging for cocktail beverage ingredients. A huge plus if corn syrup, artificial flavors and sodium benzoate make you wanna hurl (and let’s face it, most margarita mixes are disgusting).

Now for the tequila. Foraging on the cheap in Hawai’i stores can be difficult, so I opt for Costco’s Kirkland Añejo. Though most connoisseurs will say añejo and extra añejo are best sipped as they’re too expensive for mixing and don’t mix well with citrus, this one is different. It’s inexpensive and comes in a nice huge bottle, is decently smooth and masks well in large quantities. And I think the fact that it’s not as good as most quality añejos actually works to its advantage in this case. Other agave tequilas in this price range just don’t compete (and I don’t like clear tequila). Plus if the mixers are mostly free, and the alcohol is relatively inexpensive, you can afford to invite more friends over to share.

Right now, it’s lilikoi (aka passionfruit) season. Typically, lilikoi is sweet and sour with some grounding bitterness in the seeds. It’s quite refreshing but the most common varieties can be a little too tart. Then there are Jamaican lilikois – a whole other ball game. A perfectly well-rounded blend of all those flavors without the sharp edges. They grow on vines and cover certain landscapes, usually hanging  just out of reach on trees. This is where a fruit picker comes in handy. Often, you will find pinhole bug pricks but unlike guava, the skin is thick and the fruit acidic, so the insides are typically clean – but definitely keep your eye on soft fruit.

The amounts I’m giving aren’t precise. I’m leaving room for people to feel it out and create to taste. You may want less alcohol on a full moon, more alcohol after a stressful day ;P. Depending on the mood, I make it different every time and usually serve it on the rocks. If you like your margaritas blended, you should pre-freeze some lime juice.

One shaker’s worth of The Lilikoi Margarita:

  • 3 Jamaican lilikoi. Cut and squeeze out contents: juice and seeds. You can also in a cheese cloth to get the most juice out of it but I don’t bother. I like to freeze these in ice cube trays for the off-season; also works well for the blended version.
  • 3-4 Key limes, depending on size and juiciness; best if you can pick fresh and let them sit a few days. Those cheap mesh bags full of key limes at the grocery store, usually from Mexico, picked too green, coated in carnauba wax, that you can barely squeeze a drop of juice out of? Yeah, skip those.
  • 1 orange (optional)
  • 1 tbsp coconut syrup or 1-3 tbsp simple syrup* made with raw coconut sugar (optional; if you add the orange you probably don’t need any; note that raw coconut sweeteners are less glycemic than agave syrup)
  • 3 shots tequila (Kirkland’s Agave or a nice reposado)
  • 1/2 shot Cointreau
  • 1/2 shot Maui Okolehao Liqueur
  • Ice cubes
  • Alaea salt (pink Hawaiian) or Li Hing Mui (ume/dried plum; OnoPops makes a natural variety as most are chock full o’ red dye and aspartame.)
* Simple sugar: On a stove top, low heat, equal parts sugar and water. Stir. No need to overdo it; only heat just enough for the sugar to dissolve.

Add ingredients and ice to shaker; shake well; strain over ice. I allow some lilikoi seeds and lime pulp to pour into my drinks. If you like salted rims, rub lime on the rim and dip in the finely ground Hawai’i Alaea or Li Hing Mui. If starfruit is in season, cut a star-shaped slice and use as garnish.

P.S. If you are visiting Kauai and would rather snorkel than forage, the best margaritas on the North Shore can be found at the St. Regis (they make a nice one with ginger) and The Tavern (get the Lychee-Rita; if you don’t like yours too tart, ask for a little extra lychee puree). By the way, I often add ginger to my margaritas (fresh or I use a few teaspoons of my fermented ginger “bug”), but I make those with grapefruit and lychee. I’ll do that recipe when I’m drunk during lychee season. :P

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wahines luv o.n.e. coconut waterDespite the absolutely obscene cost of living, Hawai’i does have some economic advantages. I mean, if you’re starving, you can always climb a coconut tree  – preferably a short Samoan – or even find a nut that has fallen (without crackin’) and machete it open (okay, power drills and a straw work great too!). Drink the sweet juice, especially of the young coconut, and feel that fresh electrolyte buzz.

There are certain foods and drinks that, when you’re feeling a little low: tired between sessions, trying to snap out of stoned, getting over a bug… absolutely revitalize you. Thing is, we are rarely able to get the same kind of quality and essence in the processedONE Coconut Water product as we find within the living one.

As for this one, O.N.E. Coconut Water keeps the processing to a minimum. There’s nothing in the list of ingredients that you can’t figure out: 100% natural coconut water – makes sense it’s title translating to “One Natural Experience”. Thing is, it tastes like it. Offering it up to some of the local wahines here – surfer girls who grew up drinking the real thing – they all agreed (“yum!”) it tastes just like the fresh juice.

We can thank the great advancements in the production process over the past decade. Previous to that, minimal options included the old Thailand canned version (high-temp pasteurization, lost nutritional qualities, lotsa preservatives and a weird flavor), or even the first versions of cold-processed microfiltration (still not perfected, with added ingredients like sucrose).

Most important thing is that the packaged product doesn’t just taste great, but it has the qualities that make coconut water so healthy, hydrating, and beneficial to the body. O.N.E. lists off their health benefits as:

ONE coconut water health benefits

O.N.E. was kind enough to send us a case, so I was able see how this product might benefit a surfer. Drinking a container before and after each session, I felt as if I could stay out longer. And the aprés surf dose was sweetly quenching. Even though surfers easily get dehydrated after a typical two-hour session, many of us don’t drink much water immediately after, especially when it’s overcast or we’re chilly or feeling water-logged. Electrolyte drinks tend to be more satisfying – one reason we recommend our Surfer-Girl Lemonade recipe… but sometimes it’s just not convenient. Thing is, an 11oz container of O.N.E. is supposed to hydrate similarly to a liter of water. And it tastes so satisfying, you start to crave it. And you feel so good after drinking it, you’re practically ready to paddle back out.

Coconut water, as a holistically complete, biologically pure, natural isotonic beverage, is the ultimate hydrator. I mean, what other nature-made unprocessed substance can be used as an alternative IV to human blood plasma!? What other unprocessed fluid is, good-to-go, the next best thing to breast milk when you’ve just plum run out?

These coconuts are from Brazil, but that’s okay with me. I mean, personally, I don’t see why Hawai’i doesn’t have their own coconut water production going by now, but powers-that-be here seem more devoted to turning all agricultural lands into housing/ commercial/ tourism opportunities (for their friends, family, and themselves). Of course, these are the same people that lease-out our ag tetra packaginglands to chemical co.’s like Monsanto to help them cover the aina with GMOs and pharm-crops and contaminate our fragile eco-system. Fact is, since we can’t seem to help ourselves, we might as well help support the Amazon Rainforest – as products like this helps to provide sustainability for said region.

And you can’t go wrong with the packaging either. If you must utilize something other than glass, these Tetra-Paks are created with little waste (totally foldable design) and are recyclable. Haven’t researched it but hopefully the lining isn’t as bad as typical plastics.

Still, coconut water – similar to the young “jelly” fruit – can be an acquired taste, especially for those born in areasfalling coconuts where palm trees bare no fruit. But once you do get into it, it becomes a healthy craving. Those lucky enough to enjoy tropical island goodness, you can not only climb a tree, but you can buy coconuts ice cold at any farmer’s market or fruit stands found on the side of the road, which have coolers full of ice-cold coconuts for a few bucks. But if those options aren’t available – or you’re a surfer who wants to make certain you’re going to have some quality refueling available – then I’d seriously stock up on coconut water and make it a delicious part of your re-hydration process.

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