Coconut
COCONUT.
INTRODUCTION

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It belongs to the family of the Palmáceas. The coconut palm from which this fruit comes is the most cultivated and important palm tree on a global scale. From this plant, a big products diversity is obtained, being a food source, drink, overcoat, etc. The principal product exported from the different areas of cultivation is the copra without processing followed by the dried coconut. The most interesting market both in Asia and in Europe and North America is that of the stiff milk of coconut; of big acceptance and major demand every year. Nevertheless, in certain European countries, it finds his better gone out the fresh coconut; the indisputable protagonist of fairs and verbenas and of common use in multiple preparations of handmade and industrial confectioner's.




ORIGIN AND VARIETIES


Own of the islands of tropical and subtropical climate of the Pacific Ocean, his cultivation has spread over Central America, the Caribbean Sea and tropical Africa. The types of coconut palms qualify in giants, dwarfs and hybrids and, inside every group, a big number of varieties exists.

Giants: they are used for the production of oil and the fruits for fresh consumption. His water content is raised and his slightly sweet flavor. Between his advantages they emphasize the size of the fruit and the high content of copra. The most cultivated giant varieties are: Giant of Malaysia (GML), Giant of Renell (GRL) of Tahiti, Giant of the African West (GOA) of Côte d'Ivoire, High place of Jamaica, High place of Panama, Indian of Ceylon, High Java, Lagoon, High place of Sudan, etc.

Dwarfs: the most cultivated varieties are Yellow of Malaysia (AAM), Green of Brazil (AVEB) of Río Grande, Dwarf Orange of the India. Due to the good flavor of the water and the small size of these coconuts, they are used fundamentally for the production of stiff drinks. The copra is of bad quality.

Hybrids: product of the crossing between the previous varieties. There are fruits of medium or big size, good flavor and good yield of copra. The most cultivated hybrid is MAPAN VIC 14; a crossing between Dwarf of Malaysia and High place of Panama.

HIS BEST EPOCH

It is possible to have this fruit during the whole year.

CHARACTERISTICS

It forms: rounded, it presents an external, tough or fibrous rind, of 4 ó 5 centimeters of thickness, with hard adherent hair to the nut. He is followed by an intermediate and thin layer and other one harder that he has next three orifices between themselves, with a triangular disposition and placed in the apex. One of the above mentioned orifices is vulnerable to the pressure, place where the coconut milk can spill before breaking the rind and is where the seed is. The pulp contains in his central cavity the coconut milk, a sugary liquid that is in a 300 milliliters approximate quantity, shut up inside.

Size and weight: it is a covered drupe of 20-30 centimeters fibres and it can go so far as to weigh up to 2,5 kilograms.

Color: the external rind is yellow or orange and the pulp is the eatable part and of white color.

Flavor: intense and very agreeable.

The harvest of the coconut changes according to the type of production, especially from January until July. If it is commercialized like fresh fruit or is assined to the industry with ends of packing water, the harvest is carried out when the coconut has between 5 and 7 months. In this epoch the content of sugar and water is very high and the flavor is more intense.

If it is assined to the production of streaky, dehydrated coconut or copra for the oil extraction, the harvest is realized when the coconuts fall down to the soil or when one of the coconuts of a bunch is dry. These coconuts remain in the plant for 12 months.


HOW TO CHOOSE IT AND TO PRESERVE IT


It must be aromatic like the melon. If one does not listen to the typical splash of the water in his interior, it is because the coconut is dry, past of mature. In the above mentioned conditions the pulp is usually mellow. The fresh coconut survives for two months. After open sea, it has to be consumed in the same day or to keep in a receptacle covered with water, not more than five days. The streaky coconut survives two days in a dated plastic bag.



Composition for 100 grams of eatable portion
Calories 351
Fats (g) 36
Carbohydrates (g) 3,7
Fibre (g) 10,5
Potassium (mg) 405
Magnesium (mg) 52
Vitamin And (mg) 0,7
Vitamin C (mg) 2
Acid fólico (mcg) 26
mcg = micrograms
NOURISHING PROPERTIES


The composition of the coconut changes as this one matures. The fat constitutes the principal component after the water and it is rich in saturated greasy acids (88,6 % of the whole), therefore his caloric value is the highest of all the fruits. It contributes a low carbohydrates quantity and minor still of proteins. Likewise, the coconut is rich in mineral salt that take part in the mineralization of the bones (magnesium, phosphorus, calcium) and in potassium. As for other nutrients, he emphasizes his contribution of fibre, which improves the intestinal transit and helps to reduce the risk of certain alterations and illnesses. The magnesium is related to the functioning of intestine, nerves and muscles, is part of bones and teeth, improves the immunity and possesses a soft laxative effect. The calcium and the phosphorus, also they intervene in the formation of bones and teeth, and the calcium, he collaborates also in the transmission of the nervous impulse and in the normal muscular activity. The phosphorus takes part in the energy metabolism. The potassium is necessary for the transmission and generation of the nervous impulse, for the normal muscular activity and it intervenes in the water balance inside and out of the cell. He emphasizes also his vitamin content E, of antirust action and of certain vitamins hidrosolubles of the group B, necessary for the good functioning of our organism.




AS REGARDS THE HEALTH
The coconut is a very aromatic fruit and of intense and agreeable flavor. Bearing in mind his nourishing properties, his occasional consumption and in moderate quantities, it is considered to be adapted for all the segments of the healthy population: children, young people, adults, sportsmen, pregnant women, nursing mothers and major persons.

The "excessive" consumption of food rich in unsaturated fats provokes an increase of the levels of cholesterol in blood (hipercolesterolemia). Nevertheless, the coconut is a fruit that in our country is consumed in very small quantities and few occasions, for what his consumption in fresh air does not raise any disadvantage for the health, it is more, there enriches our feeding in nourishing substances and in flavors and aromas big quantity of plates of our gastronomy.

Also, it is very rich in mineral salt that take part in the mineralization of the bones (magnesium, phosphorus, calcium) and as for other beneficial substances that it contributes, he emphasizes his content of fibre, which awards his laxative properties. The fibre prepares or improves the constipation, helps to reduce the cholesterol valuations in blood and to the good control of the glycemia (sugar levels in the blood) in the person who has diabetes. For his high energy value, there must moderate his consumption the persons who have excess weight and for his high potassium contribution, it is not advised those who have renal insufficiency and need of a diet controlled in the above mentioned mineral. Nevertheless, who take diuretics and the persons with bulimia will benefit from his consumption, since in the coconut the above mentioned mineral abounds.


CURIOSITIES
It is the liquid that is inside the pulp; the less mature be the most abundant fruit will be and also the richer in nutrients. It is considered to be a drink isotónica natural, being much appreciated in the tropical countries where it takes extracting it straight from the fruit.

The copra. It is the oil that is obtained from the fruit, dry and reduced to pieces. The copra fat contains 65 % of oil. For saponification and hidrogenación there is obtained fat and coconut oil (fats hidrogenadas and saturated).



It manages: the copra is used like raw material for the extraction of oil of nutritive use and in products of corporal and cosmetic hygiene. The bone that the copra covers is used to produce coal and activated coal or like combustible for cauldrons.

Cattle: the coconut flour is a by-product of the extraction of the oil and it is used like food for the cattle. The sheets are used like forage for the dairy cattle in epochs of scarcity.

Agriculture: the dust of the tow is used in sandy soils since it improves the water retention and the texture of the soil. Also, the residual products of the extraction of the oil are used to prepare organic fertilizers. The fibre can be used like alternative horticultural substratum in the cultivation without soil.

Construction: the wood is used for the manufacture of houses, bridges and farms and the palms, in roofs. With the crust also furniture are prepared.

Craft: the palms are used to do baskets, hats, carpets, etc. The conch is used to make buttons, spoons, adornments, etc. The fibre resistant to the sea water, is used for cables and tackles of ships, to do blankets and purses or even brooms and brushes.

Medicine: for his potential antiseptic action and diurética, etc., in many tropical countries it is used like popular remedy against the asthma, the bronchitis, contusions, burns, constipation, dysentery, cough, fever, flu, etc.

Ecology: the presence of these trees contributes to the regulation of the microclimate and to the protection of the soils.

Tourism: the coconut palms constitute the coastal sceneries and embellish the beaches.

Gardening: in the streets or like interior plants; also with the wood of the trunk flowerpots are done.


HOW TO PREPARE IT

To wave it to verify that it contains water, to practise two orifices in the "eyes" of the coconut with a corkscrew. To empty the water in a receptacle and to saw the coconut. To separate the rind of the pulp with the help of a hammer or introducing the coconut in a warm stove a few minutes. To eliminate the brown skin that the pulp covers and that turns out to be slightly indigestible and to wash the pulp with water.

it is possible to consume hangover, he informs or grated; or roasted, being part of diverse culinary preparations. Gelatinous pulp: it is obtained of the still green coconuts. He eats up with a spoon, as soon as the coconut was opened. It contains the same nutrients as the mature coconut but in minor concentration.

ideal to calm the thirst. Coconut milk: it is obtained squeezing the once crushed pulp of the coconut. One adds water or milk and takes as a refreshment or it is added to batters of fruits or other plates. The coconut constitutes a basic ingredient in the exotic kitchen and in the Asian curry, smooths the flavor of the chili peppers.

it is used in the making of some products of stiff industrial confectioner's and snacks for his low cost and good result





MILK OF COCONUT

4
30'
minimum

Ingredients

- 4 or more coconuts
- 2 glasses of whole milk and sugar

It is obtained squeezing the once well crushed pulp of the coconut.

It is possible to prepare adding water or milk.

It takes as a refreshment or it is added to batters of fruits or other plates.



 
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