Cocos nucifera, or coconut as we more commonly know it, refers to either the coconut palm or the seed. It is not actually a nut, but is a drupe (an outer fibrous part surrounding a hard shell that has a seed inside).
They grow on palm trees that are not just gorgeous to look at, but are also an important sustainable resource, which can often survive hurricanes and tsunamis.
Coconuts are a natural product which are in season all year long. They grow in bunches of 5 to 20 drupes & a new bunch begins to grow every month, meaning a coconut palm can produce about 100-200 coconuts a year.
The word coconut comes from Spanish ‘coco’ meaning skull or scary face because of the three indentations, the little face, on each & every coconut shell.
The humble Coconut is considered the Soul Food of the Tropics. In 1519 Antonio Pigafetta, a nobleman from Venice wrote, “Coconuts are the fruit of the palm trees. And as we have bread, wine, oil, and vinegar, so they get all these things from the said trees. . . With two of these palm trees a whole family of ten can sustain itself. . . They last for a hundred years.” Early Sanskrit writings reveal the coconut as a kalpa vriksha, which translates as a “tree that gives all that is necessary for living.”
The coconut itself produces:
Coconut oil - The versatile oil we already know & love.
Coconut milk – deliciously enriches a meal offering a hint of coconut and is used in many Asian dishes.
Coconut jam - Decadent & delicious!
Coconut butter - An alternative to other nut butters.
Coconut flour – A wonderful addition to gluten-free baking.
Coconut water - A refreshing & hydrating drink.
Coconut flakes - Naturally sweet flakes to use in cooking or to snack on.
The husk fibre, also known as coir, is used for making brushes, ropes, door mats, sacks, and more.
The shell can become a bowl, cup, spoon, jewellery, buttons. It can also be made into activated charcoal.
Watch this space for new products coming soon!
With so many uses for the humble coconut, it’s not suprising that the villagers and farmers who produce our coconut oil call this ‘The Tree of Life’.