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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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