Coconut (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the palm tree family (Arecaceae) and the only living species of the genus Cocos. Coconuts have been used by humans for thousands of years and may have spread to their present range because of Pacific island settlers. They are widely spread around the globe and can be found in both tropical and subtropical regions.
The name coconut is derived from the old Portuguese and Spanish word “coco” which means “head” or “skull”. Historical evidence suggests that coconut trees are originated from India as they were mentioned in scripts dated before the 1st century BCE. It is believed that Austronesian sailors introduced coconut in Madagascar and later they introduced it in the Americas. Persian and Arab traders were later introduced coconut throughout Africa and the Middle East.
Coconut trees enjoy a cosmopolitan distribution as they have been introduced in many parts of the world. In terms of their production, Indonesia is the world's leading coconut producer followed by the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Brazil.
The taste of coconut meat is tropical, a little nutty and slightly sweet. When coconut is toasted, it takes on a deeper flavour with a hint of vanilla. Their texture can vary as younger fruits have a gelatinous texture while mature are thick, heavy and dense.
Preparation can be tricky and a bit laborious. Use a nail to punch holes in 2 of the 3 indentations at the end of the coconut. Drain off the coconut milk and use it like milk in cooking or to cover grated coconut for freezing. Heat the coconut in the oven at 170 °C for about 15 minutes; then crack with a hammer, pry out chunks of the coconut meat; peel off the brown skin. Grate, shred or grind the coconut chunks.
Coconut is very high in calories as it contains a high amount of fat, but it is also a good source of protein, fibre, iron, and potassium.
|Calories per 100 g||354 kcal|
|Iron||14 % of the RDI|
|Potassium||8 % of the RDI|