Today's post is about preserving fresh coconut in couple of ways. We use coconut in our cooking for most of the kurmas as a paste and grated form for the Stir fries. Since we get coconut for pooja, invariable about two coconuts are always available. We have seen that storing as such along with the shell makes the coconut to change colour and also very tough to remove and use.
I have already posted on Coconut paste which is always stored for making gravies. However as a ground coconut stored in the fridge will not be fresh. If the coconut is ground without adding any water and not touched, it mostly stays for a week or otherwise the shelf life is only about 2 -3 days. After seeing that so many coconuts are going wasted, plus the fact that in the rush hour it becomes extremely tough to grind, we thought we should freeze it in cubes for easy usage.
Then Athamma decided she could even grind poppy seeds along with the coconut to make it even better. So the cubes you see is actually poppy seeds ground along with coconut. When stored in individual cubes, while making the gravy we will simply take the required number of cubes and add to the gravy. There is no need to thaw or defrost. Simply add it directly to the gravy and simmer till the coconut loosen by itself.
How to freeze Coconut paste
If you want to add poppy seeds or any other masala, you can combine it along with the finely chopped coconut and ground.
Fill in the cubes tray with the paste and freeze. Once the paste is frozen, remove from try, break into individual pieces and store in a zip lock cover in the freezer. Use it in your gravies as required.
Next came the grated coconut.
Now not only was grated a pain, grating a small amount was a tough thing to do in the rush hours. Plus as I said we always had excess coconut on hand and never knew what to make with it. Making coconut barfi was the last resort. We also do that occasionally as kids like the barfis that Amma makes. But again this can't be done frequently.
So Athamma decided that only way of storing the excess coconut was getting it grated and freezing it. The grated frozen coconut stays white and fresh for many months. I haven't actually tested the shelf life but I know there is endless boxes of frozen grated coconut at home. I was so happy when my friend told me that this is a fantastic idea that helps her so much these days for her cooking. She uses grated coconut for all her dishes yet she was finding it difficult to grate everyday. She was overwhelmed knowing this way of preserving fresh grated coconut and said she is eternally thankful to Athamma for this tip.