Coconuts - The Tree of Life

Want to Know a Bit About Coconuts?

If you’re asked to conjure up a mental picture of the South Pacific I’m pretty sure you’ll include a Palm Tree in your picture – right?

And I’m going to bet that most of those Palm Trees will have Coconuts hanging proudly high up in the branches.

Lovely Bunches of Coconuts!

coconut plantation
coconut plantation

No, I’m not NUTS – but I do love Coconuts!  It’s one of my favourite flavours – coconut cream in a tangy curry, fresh sweet coconut water with all it’s healthy minerals, smooth coconut oil on both skin and food, and the dried shredded flesh folded into my favourite dessert!

But that’s not all – did you know that almost every part of the Coconut Tree can be used:

No wonder it’s called THE TREE OF LIFE!

Coconut
 

The Coconut was named by Portuguese Sailors

for the 3 little holes in the top of the nut that look like a face. 

“Coco” meaning “Grinning Face”

So Here is Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Coconuts:

Coconuts are the Fruits of the Coconut Palm!

Coconut Palms like to grow in the Tropics – in low-lying areas with high rain-fall, and close to the sea.

The Coconut Palm grows tall and straight (up to 30m tall) with a single smooth trunk, the Palm leaves are always at the top of the trunk.

It takes at least 6 years for a Coconut Palm to begin bearing fruit (the coconut), but then they can continue producing for up to 50 years.

One Coconut tree will produce 30-100 Coconuts a year!

The Growth of a Coconut

It takes about a year for a Coconut to ripen fully.

When the Coconut is young and green it contains a large amount of coconut water.

As the fruit matures the water is absorbed as the flesh (Coconut “meat”) grows inside the nut.

The Husk turns brown when the coconut is mature.  It will naturally fall from the tree when it is ready, but it can be removed manually too.

The HUSK of the mature coconut is removed to reveal the NUT or shell.

If you buy a Coconut from a Supermarket the HUSK has already been removed, so you are buying the NUT.

harvesting coconut
opening-a-coconut.jpg

All the Things You Can Make from a Coconut!

  • Coconut Water is extracted from Green Coconuts.
  • The Flesh of a mature Coconut is grated and squeezed to produce Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream.
  • The Flesh can be eaten either fresh or dried. And in sweet or savoury dishes.
  • The dried Flesh is call COPRA, and this is used to produce Coconut OIL.
  • Coconut oil is used in numerous products: cooking oil, soap, cosmetics, beauty products.
  • The residual flesh left over after Coconut Oil production is used as a food for stock animals.
  • The Husk of the Coconut is a fibre called COIR. Coir is used as a material for rugs, mats, brushes, ropes, sacks and stuffing mattresses.
  • The Husks and Shells can be burnt for fuel, and the smoke produced is a natural insect repellent.
  • The hard Shell can be used to make cooking utensils, musical instruments and handicrafts.
 
making coconut milk
opened coconut

And the Rest of the Coconut Palm!

  • The trunk of the Coconut Palm is a very useful timber for buildings, furniture and boats.
  • The leaves are used in weaving for baskets and mats, also for making brooms and as thatching for roofing.
  • The Sap from the Flowers can be used to make various drinks and sweet syrup and sugar for confectionery. If it ferments, it becomes wine!
weaving coconut fronds
 

The Killer Fruit?

Some studies have claimed that Falling Coconuts Kill up to 150 people a year!

The numbers may be somewhat of an exaggeration, but never-the-less a falling coconut can do you serious harm if you are unlucky!

So, our advice is watch where you lay your towel on that Idyllic South Pacific Beach of your Dreams, but don’t hold back in enjoying all the bounty of the Coconut Tree!

falling coconut sign

...Next Week Just for Fun – My Favourite Coconut Dessert...