Oh, what’s that? You’re stuck on the title? Sorry; I couldn’t resist a Lion King reference. Not when it comes to coconuts. (Actually, the original song was written by Fred Heatherton in 1944 — fun fact of the day.)
Now where was I? Oh, right — coconut juice, in a can. With pulp. As I meandered down the soft drinks aisle, this stood out to me. Maybe it was the bright label, or the fact that the can looked like recycled drainpipe, or maybe it was simply the fact that “coconut juice” sounds a little incongruous next to all the cola and cream soda. Whatever the case, I was intrigued.
Lately I’ve seen coconut water cropping up at grocery stores and even the local Circle K. It usually comes in those little cartons, and it’s touted as a health drink. I don’t know what the difference between coconut water and coconut juice is, though a little research seems to indicate they’re equivalent. Seeing coconut juice in a can, though, with pulp (because, yes, I’m mentioning the can and the pulp once again) struck me as odd. And almost repulsive.
I refrigerated the can first (because warm coconut juice does not sound appealing), and shook it before I drank it, since it contained pulp. (I think I made the right decision, because I later noticed that the can says, “Chill and shake well before serving.”) Before drinking it, I actually poured some into a glass, just to see how it would look.
Pond water? Milk that’s been left on the counter for a few years? This might prove interesting.
I took a tentative sip and mulled it over for awhile, unsure what to think. The aftertaste was stronger than the first impression, but I couldn’t quite determine what the flavor reminded me of. I took another drink and the answer came to me: skim milk. Very, very, very skim. With pulp.
I guess it makes sense. After all, coconut milk comes from coconuts (shocking, I know) and it had to have gotten its name from somewhere. The coconut juice was also a little sweet, especially the aftertaste, even though the can said “unsweetened.” Since coconuts are debatably a fruit, this also makes some sense.
I’m still not sure how necessary the pulp was. For someone like me who can’t even eat yogurt with fruit in it, all it did was trigger my gag reflex. But it most likely strengthened the flavor of the juice, though the pulp itself seemingly had no flavor. (Because, yes, I tried it by itself.)
Maybe my taste buds are still recovering from the green pepper jelly of last week’s escapades, but the coconut juice didn’t do much for me. It was a little boring. Sort of like watered-down milk with a dash of sugar.
Amy & Brian, the company that makes the juice, also sells pulp-free and lime varieties. The coconut juice with lime actually sounds pretty good. (Though that might just be because it reminds me of the Harry Nilsson song.) I may give it try, if I can find it next time I’m meandering down the soft drinks aisle. Until then, as far as health drinks go, I think I’ll stick to plain old water.
Ingredients: Young coconut juice and coconut pulp.
Price:$1.79 at Fry’s Marketplace
Pros: Healthy, natural alternative to sugary drinks; palatable flavor. Also alleviates hangovers, for those of you party types out there.
Cons: The taste was a little boring; it seemed to be lacking something. A flavored version of the juice (like lime) might go over better.