coquito(s)

Pronunciation: [koh-KEE-tohs]

Hailing from South America, coquito nuts come from a feather-leaved palm tree native to Chile. They look like tiny (½ to ¾ inch in diameter) coconuts and have a brown exterior and white interior with a hollow center. They're crunchy and have a delicately sweet flavor reminiscent of coconut and almonds. Coquitos are sold shelled in packages and can be found in some natural food stores and specialty produce markets. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Eat whole as you would other nuts, or chop and add to salads and desserts, or grate as you would a whole nutmeg to garnish and flavor foods. Soften dehydrated nuts by pouring boiling water over them and allowing them to stand for 20 minutes.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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