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Keeping Things Interesting In the Kitchen: Brought To You by: Mistakes: Part 1

You may like to “put de lime in de coconut” or “pina coladas in the rain”, but these two products (pictured below), while both made from the flesh of the coconut, are NOT the same.

Cannot get these confused Coconut Milk and can of Cream of Coconut. Chase Baillie, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Cannot get these confused Coconut Milk and can of Cream of Coconut.
Chase Baillie, ©2021, Clemson Extension

I learned this the hard way. I have been trying to follow a diet that is lower in simple carbohydrates and added sugars and higher in good fats, so I decided to make a hearty “orange veggie” soup with coconut. I had a supply of ingredients (squashes, carrot, sweet potato, onion, broth, garlic, spices) on hand and got to work. I generally share ingredients and suggestions for preparation and not a prescriptive recipe. For me, the kitchen is a safe place to create and improvise, using what a person has available to make a product they like, which usually works out pretty well. That being said, this “orange veggie soup” can be made in a slow cooker, multi-cooker, or stovetop, whichever is available, and you are most comfortable with. Any ingredients or spices can be adjusted or eliminated based on personal preferences. For food and family safety, always start with washed hands, rinsed produce, and clean utensils and surfaces. I followed the basic instructions below, and all was good until…. I opened the can of (what I thought) was coconut milk. I looked at the product; it looked a little different than what I remembered, but I was so excited to add this good fat to my soup I emptied half of the can. Then I saw the recipe for Pina Colada on the label. I stopped immediately, but it was too late. I tried to salvage the soup by adding more onion, salt, and garlic to tone down the sweetness; it tasted ok, but the damage was done. My orange veggie soup was NO LONGER low carb, to the nutritional tune of 108 grams of added sugar. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away or send to the compost pile, so I poured it into a freezer bag and am storing it frozen for another day. All is not lost. Stay tuned for part two of keeping things interesting in the kitchen.

Black platter with ingredients for soup: chicken broth, butternut and acorn squash, onion, leek watermelon radish, and persimmon. Chase Baillie, ©2020, Clemson Extension

Black platter with ingredients for soup: chicken broth, butternut and acorn squash, onion, leek watermelon radish, and persimmon.
Chase Baillie, ©2020, Clemson Extension

Cutting board with butternut squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and persimmon. Chase Baillie, ©2020, Clemson Extension

Cutting board with butternut squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and persimmon.
Chase Baillie, ©2020, Clemson Extension

  1. Chop the onion (I used a Vidalia), leek, and garlic and place in a pot along with a fat of your choice.
    • Real butter, margarine, olive oil, coconut oil, bacon grease, etc.
  2. Add a carton or can of broth and turn up the heat.
    • The goal is to use the liquid for cooking the squash until it is soft and can be mashed.
  3. While the liquid is warming, prepare the orange vegetables: peel, remove seeds and cut into large chunks.
    • For safety’s sake, a peeler is recommended; if you don’t have a peeler or are uncomfortable using a knife to peel, the vegetables can be roasted or steamed to soften the skin, and then the flesh removed.
  4. Add the orange vegetable chunks/flesh to the broth along with warm and savory spices such as salt, garlic powder, garlic salt, cumin, smoked paprika, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and sage.
  5. Allow the broth, vegetables, and spices to cook until the vegetables are soft.
  6. Mash or blend or mix using whatever tools available.
    • Examples are potato masher, whisk, immersion blender, hand mixer, or blender.
  7. Optional: Add a can of UNSWEETENED coconut milk or cream and mix again until well blended to desired consistency.
    • Warning: prior to pouring into the soup, be sure to look at the label and nutrition facts to be sure that there is no added sugar, or you will end up with a VERY sweet soup. Unless that is what you want, then go for it. You can add both coconut products, a little at a time, tasting as you go, for the desired flavor.
  8. Serve in a bowl and garnish with sliced radishes, persimmon, toasted nuts, seeds, or coconut and enjoy!

For more information see the following fact sheets:

Is It A Decoration? Is It Food? The Many Uses and Types of Fall and Winter Squash

HGIC 3877, Food Waste

Mashed Butternut Squash

HGIC 3495, Food Safety Mistakes You Do Not Want to Make

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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