FoodieTuesday: The Multi-Purpose Coconut

A few mornings ago, my neighbor brought me two jelly coconuts – the young coconut with meat that is translucent and soft, or sometimes pale white. Part of the husk or bark had already been removed. Although, it was only about 8 a.m., I still hadn’t had breakfast so I asked him to take off the tip so I could drink the water. It was refreshing.

Acres of coconut trees, Jamaica
A farm

As I fixed breakfast that morning, I thought about the coconut. The coconut is a multi-purpose fruit. We not only drink the water, which is full of vitamins, amino acids and electrolytes, we also eat the meat as is.

When the coconut is mature, the jelly become firm and white. It is scooped out of the husk, grated and mixed with water to make milk for cooking, and grated or diced for baking.

Coconuts on a tree
A large bunch

All of the Coconut is Used

Before electric floor polishers became popular, we polished our floors and used a brush that was made from the top part of a dry (mature) coconut to shine them.

In the rural areas of Jamaica, brooms to sweep the yard, were made from the reeds of coconut leaves. The leaf can also be plaited to make hats, baskets, etc., and the fiber from the coconut husk, called coir, is used to make mats and mattresses.

Chopping a coconut

Coconut water low in calories and sodium, naturally fat- and cholesterol-free, and has more potassium than four bananas. It is very hydrating and is definitely better for you than sports drinks.

But that’s not all: coconut water has been used as a blood plasma substitute and it’s also been used to supply glucose. It is as effective as statin drugs that are used to manage cholesterol. No wonder celebrities and sports figures are chugging it like they do water.

And oil made from coconut is considered to be healthier than butter, trans fats and probably even animal fats.

Coconut water straight from the husk
Adding a little rum

Most families have a coconut tree or two in their backyards. If you have to buy, a medium-sized coconut costs $1-2 here.

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24 comments on “FoodieTuesday: The Multi-Purpose Coconut

  1. It’s a very refreshing drink, Salika, and with the health benefits, yes definitely better than sports drinks and soda. Wish it could be fresh all the time or that the close to fresh wasn’t so expensive.

  2. Most versatile – and delicious – thing, that coconut. Thanks for doing this Foodie Tuesday Marcia – it is a nice way to remember the good food we’ve eaten along the way and to alert others of places they really shouldn’t miss in their travels!

  3. I love coconuts for the water and meat, it is so nice to have fresh one’s available all the time in Hawaii, tough part is climbing to get them or paying big time to get someone to pick them for you.

  4. How high do the trees grow, Noel? It can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
    I remember a coconut hitting a man on his head when he tried to pick some. He had to be rushed to the hospital.

  5. It would be great to have access to coconuts in my backyard! This post reminded me of Costa Rica where we were constantly being offered coconuts, mangoes or water apples by the locals.

  6. I love raw coconut but had no idea it began or is used in a ‘jelly’ state. Or that the water could be used as blood plasma substitute. Adding rum to a fresh coconut looks scrumptious–that’s the kind of plasma I’d be calling for:)

  7. I have a whole new respect for the coconut. I had no idea about many of its uses.A blood plasma substitue — amazing! How fun to add a little rum to the coconut, too.

  8. I wish we had coconut trees in Philadelphia in the summer time. We are renowned for our summer \”hot and muggy\” days. My fresh coconut fixes mostly happen in Miami. Our son attended the University of Miami and stayed on in South Beach. I actually wonder how more people don\’t get conked on the head by falling coconuts.

  9. Marcia, if you can delete my Twitter name that would be good because it’s wrong, but there is a Twitter handle that is “Boo”, but it’s not mine 😉 Mine is @Boomeresque, so you can either correct or delete it. Thanks!

  10. In my hometown, there are many coconut trees, so I do not have to pay anything to get a coconut However, I did not thought if there were so many benefits provided by the coconut.

  11. Hahaha, my sentiments exactly, Lesley!
    Yes, when they’re young — the meat is pretty translucent and gets firmer until the coconut matures and then it’s pretty hard and totally white. I had one today though that had just a thin film, it hadn’t started turning into jelly yet — I’d forgotten about that.

  12. The coconut’s definitely a super food one we should pay more attention to. Unfortunately, it’s better fresh or as close to fresh as possible.
    You’ve probably noticed how we add rum to just about everything.

  13. Oh, a fresh coconut would do wonders on a hot and muggy day. Sometimes we put them in the freezer before so they’re chilled. Refreshing!
    Getting hit on the head can be pretty serious so it’s better to climb the tree instead of using a stick.

  14. Oh, you’re very welcome, Jackie. Thank you so much for participating.
    I agree — it’s a great way to remember all the fantastic food we eat during our travels and to share them with others.

  15. It is quite delicious and refreshing, Mette, especially chilled. If you ever make it to someplace tropical, hope you get a chance to try them.
    Thanks for the almond cake and for linking up.

  16. I agree, Arianwen. It’s great having coconuts, mangoes and apples in the backyard and quite a few do. It’s usually too much so people sell them or give them away. BTW, they’re known as otaheiti apples, or more commonly, Jamaican apples here. I’d never heard them called water apples before.

  17. We do have a lot of coconut here in our place. We call coconut the tree of life because everything from it from the roots to the tip would not go to waste. And coconut here in our place is very affordable $0.25 only.

  18. Coconut is incredible! I think that a lot of people can learn from how certain food and resources are used by different cultures. Every part of the coconut has a purpose, and if we were able to take advantage of every part of other resources, then think of how much we would save from waste. It does help that the coconut has so much to offer, but there’s definitely a lesson to be learned there.

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