Nata de coco is one of the processed coconut water products and is well known by the public. The texture is soft, chewy, and white with a sweet taste. It is the result of coconut water fermentation with Acetobacter xylinum microbes. This product can be used to mix with ice cream, fruit cocktails, syrups, and other snacks.
The primary raw material for making nata de coco is coconut water. Coconut water used is coconut water from old coconut because young coconut water does not contain enough minerals needed for the growth and activity of Acetobacter xylinum bacteria. Meanwhile, old coconut water that has sprouted contains excessive oil, which can inhibit the growth of Acetobacter xylinum bacteria. Apart from coconut water and starter (Acetobacter xylinum bacteria), making nata de coco also requires ingredients such as sugar as a carbon source, ammonium sulfate (ZA) as a nitrogen source and vinegar or citric acid.
The process of making nata de coco consists of several stages, namely as follows:
The coconut water used is fresh coconut water or coconut water that has been stale for four days. The coconut water is filtered to separate coconut water from impurities such as coir, shell fragments, coconut fruit, and others.
- Cooking and adding ingredients
Coconut water that has been filtered is cooked until it boils. Then, 2.0-7.5% sugar, 0.3-0.5%, ammonium sulfate (ZA), and citric acid with a pH of 4.0-4.5 are added, and heating is continued for ± 15 minutes. In hot conditions, fermentation media (coconut water and additional boiled ingredients) are poured into clean and sterile plastic trays and then covered. The media is left for one night.
- Inoculation (spreading) starter and curing
Each tray with cold fermentation media is added with starter (seeds) as much as 10-20% of the fermentation medium volume. Inoculating seeds is done by opening the lid slightly and immediately closing it again. The fermented media added to the seeds is cured for 6-7 days at a room temperature of 28-30oC. The success of the fermentation process could be seen by the presence or absence of a thin layer on the surface of the fermentation medium after two days and getting thicker day by day.
- Harvest and postharvest
After curing for 6-7 days, the nata de coco layer will have a thickness of ± 1.5 cm in the form of a slab. The slab is washed until it is not slimy. It is then soaked for 2-3 days. The soaking water is changed every day to eliminate the smell and sour taste. After three days, the washing and boiling process is carried out until the nata de coco becomes tasteless.
- Adding syrup and flavor
Nata de coco can be mixed in a syrup solution and boiled for 15 minutes, and then allowed to stand for ± half a day with the aim of the sugar absorption process occurring. Furthermore, nata de coco is boiled again in a sugar syrup (sugar) solution. For preservation can be added 0.1% sodium benzoate into the syrup soaking solution. In hot conditions, nata de coco is packed into a plastic bag or cup, tightly closed, and boiled in boiling water for 30 minutes. Then the plastic bag/cup is lifted and stored at room temperature in an inverted position.
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Source: Agricultural Postharvest Research and Development
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