Food for the Soul

Words of Wisdom

Virgin Coconut Oil

Coconut cream from freshly squeezed coconut is an indispensable ingredient in almost every Bicol's cuisine aside from hot chili pepper of course. It is a staple ingredient for a Bicolana like me who can't live without for delicious, mouth-watering, and lip-smacking gastronomic treats. But wait, I will not share some of my coconut cream cooking recipes yet (in the near future, I will! lol).

With this coconut, I'd love to share it with you how to make a home-made "Virgin Coconut Oil" - the cold way absolutely without applying heat.
Here's my how-to-do-it VCO.

- 2 pcs. medium size quality matured coconuts

- coconut juice from matured coconuts

Materials needed:

- clean cheesecloth (as strainer and for squeezing)

- containers for coconut mixture and VCO
- funnel


  • Place and wrap the coconut mixture into the cheesecloth.
  • Press and squeeze the cloth to allow the coconut milk to flow out of the cloth.
  • Keep squeezing for several times until all the creamy juices come out of the mixture.
  • Set aside the squeezed coconut, it can be used as fertilizer.
  • In a container, filter the coconut milk using a cheesecloth.
  • Cover and allow the coconut milk to settle untouched in room temperature for 18 hours. Fermentation takes place setting the coconut oil to separate naturally in between the curd and white watery mixture (can be fermented and turned into vinegar).
  • Carefully remove the curd (top layer)
  • Gently scoop out the oil (2nd layer) and pour into ready container while filtering using a cheesecloth on top of a funnel for a transparent result.

Now you have your virgin coconut oil ready.

finished product

Some benefits of VCO:
  1. Beneficial to the heart as it contains about 50% lauric acid (an essential fatty acid that is only found in high concentrations in mother's milk) which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful same with other vegetable oil.
  2. It helps boost the body's immune system.
  3. It has anti-viral and anti-microbial properties.
  4. It aids to regulate blood sugar.
  5. Serves as basic ingredient for soaps, lotions and creams.
  6. Helps in preventing premature aging due to its antioxidant properties.
  7. Aids in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections.
  8. Heals & nourishes the skin, hair and scalp. A good form of moisturizer for the skin.
  9. Helps maintain healthy thyroid function.
  10. Serves as an effective insect repellant when mix with peppermint oil.
  11. It heals animal wounds.
  12. Coconut juice serves as refreshing electrolyte-rich drink and can be a good replacement for sports drink.
Do try it at home. I hope I've imparted something helpful in my own little way. Please feel free to share your thoughts. Thanks for the visit and hope you will keep coming back. :)

Polvorones de Malunggay (Moringa)

My husband went home from tennis bringing along with him moringa leaves. Undecided and mulling over what to do with them, I settled to delve the internet and dug more about Moringa. Take a look, you will be amazed by the wonders of this tree and the beneficial properties it can offer to us.

Moringa tree (malunggay in the Philippines) or known as "drumstick," is an exceptionally nutritious tree with variety of potential uses. The tree is slender with drooping branches, and grows up to 10 meters in height. The moringa tree grows very quickly- it comes into leaves at the end of the dry season, when other foods are the scarcest. It grows quickly in any tropical climate. Within six months of planting a seed or a piece of trunk, one can cut leaves from the tree to eat. It is considered to be one of the most useful trees since almost every part of it has some beneficial property. The leaf, which is the most potent part of the plant can be cooked or dried, pulverize into a fine powder that can be added to almost anything as nutrient supplement or to some dishes for added flavor.

Moringa is also known as the "miracle tree" and "tree of life", is a multi-purpose plant, as the leaves, pods, fruits, flowers, roots and bark of the tree can be utilized. For this reason, it has put moringa as the most nutritious vegetable plant around and has been used as fortificant in noodles, bread, biscuits, delic
acies, burgers, hotdogs, porridge and as tea due to its richness in vitamins and minerals.

getting ready to be sun dried

pulverized malunggay leaves

Nutritional and health benefits:
  1. Proven to increase the production of breast milk for nursing mothers.
  2. It has rich supply of nutrients, super-antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and anti-aging compounds.
  3. It has vast health-promoting benefits on cardiovascular and endocrine.
  4. Improves sleep, mental clarity, wound healing, digestion and detoxification.
  5. Increases the natural defenses of the body.
  6. Provides nourishment to the eyes and the brain.
  7. Promotes the cell structure of the body, metabolism and natural serum cholesterol.
  8. Lowers the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
  9. Promotes the normal functioning of the liver and the kidney.
  10. Beautifies the skin.
  11. Promotes energy, proper digestion, and healthy circulatory system.
  12. Supports the normal sugar level of the body.
  13. Gives a feeling of general wellness.
  14. The health benefits of moringa oil can be compared to sunflower oil and olive oil
Other benefits:
  1. Its seed has the full potential of producing bio-fuel, cooking oil, industrial oil, and lubricants
  2. Some parts of moringa tree can be used for animal feed, domestic cleanser, perfume, personal care products, cosmetics, dye, fertilizer, medicine, rope fiber, and as an agent for tanning hides.
  3. The flowers of the moringa plant can be used in making herbal tea for they add a refreshing aroma to the tea.
The paramount thing I like in moringa is that the leaves can be crushed into a fine powder providing nutrition, zest, and aroma to some of our favorite dishes. In my case, I have brought into play the powdered malunggay leaves for my polvoron. Here's my own version of polvoron de malunggay that your family including the kids might definitely enjoy.

3 c. sifted all purpose flour
1 c. ground peanuts (optional)
1 1/2 c. powdered milk
3/4 c. melted butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. pulverized malunggay leaves
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Cooking Procedure:
  1. On a heavy skillet, toast flour over moderate heat until light brown while stirring constantly.
  2. Add pulverized malunggay leaves, powdered milk, peanuts for another 3 to 5 minutes. Removed from heat and let it cool.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well until it has about the consistency of damp sand.
  4. Fill the polvoron molder (use round or oval shapes according to your preference) with the mixture. Press the mixture well using the back of a spoon so it will not become crumbly when released.
  5. Refrigerate in an air tight container until firm.
  6. Wrap them with colorful Japanese 5" x 5" squares paper. (I prefer Japanese paper over cellophane for earth saving reason).
Everybody is welcome to share your cooking experience. Enjoy this simple but healthy dessert. Have some to share! :)