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Going Crazy for Coconuts

Posted by FAN Admin in Back To Our Roots on 03 15th, 2007

Going Crazy for Coconuts

coconuttreephoto

Coconuts are a wondrous fruit and have many uses for Filipinos and people all over the world. Filipinos are especially resourceful and are known to use coconuts for cleaning around the house, in cooking and even used as a prop in one of their traditional dances.

The coconut palm is the only fruit bearing palm tree that produces coconuts and are found in tropical countries.. It may seem that there are different types of coconuts, but in fact they are used at various developments of maturity.

The coconut has three specific layers of the hollow center. The external part or the husk starts off as green but changes to brown through maturity. You can find the young coconuts with the tops cut off to drink the buko known as the young coconut juice. Do not confuse it with coconut milk, which is made from processed coconut meat.

Mature coconuts are available in grocery stores with the husk removed. As you break the hard shell save the tasty juice for an energizing drink. Mature coconuts have a white part or the meat, which is not as sweet but either way a great snack fresh or dried. A younger coconut on the other hand has a thinner lining of meat and is much fleshier. Some Filipino deserts are sprinkled with grated coconut such as Puto (mashed rice), Halo-halo (mixed desert with fruits, condensed milk and shaved ice),

Aside from the edible parts of the coconut there are other uses. The husk otherwise known as coir when dried out can be woven to make such items as placemats, bags and even rope. It also used for compost/stuffing. Filipinos are known to use the half husk to scrub the floors of their houses. The shell with the three distinct holes can also be polished and made into buttons, earrings, and masks.

In 2005 the Philippines produced 64% of the world’s virgin coconut oil. Because of recent typhoons the percentage has dropped though expected to bounce back in the coming years. The Davao region had the highest volume production of coconuts in all of the Philippines. This was calculated from the 16 regions throughout the country.

The Maglalatik traditional dance is originally from Binan, Laguna and is performed as a ‘mock-war dance. “All dancers are male; with harnesses of coconut shells attached on their chests, backs, thighs and hips.”

Coconut oil has been utilized for many years. It has become more popular lately because of its healthy benefits. The process of making the virgin oil is made with a grate that shreds the meat from the shell and is then dried through an oven on a pan. It can take up to nine hours in order to generate the best quality of oil. The dried shreds are placed into a ‘screw expresser’ that rotates and presses out the oil. The remaining coconut meat can be used to feed livestock. Coconut oil can be used to cook with while others consume it on a daily basis. You can find scented coconut oil that can be used to replenish your skin or even to condition your hair. The oil is also made into body soaps.

When cut, the flower bud of the coconut palm is made into coconut sugar from the sap. It is wonderful for baking, making barbeque sauce and even a spread on bread.

Whether you like the fresh juice or donning a polished pair of shell earrings there is no shortage in the uses of coconuts. If you are not enthusiastic about the taste there are many other modes to take advantage of such a valuable fruit.

Links:

An Obsession with Desserts and Other Unabashed Opinions of a Food Writer

Research on the benefits of coconut oil

What are the Different Kinds of Coconuts?