Coconuts were dubbed as such by the Spanish and Portuguese explorers. Apparently, the brown and hairy surface of mature Coconuts reminded them on one of their childhood fear, the Iberian Bogeyman of which they call “El Coco”. According to them, El Coco is a hairy monster that hides under the bed of children and eats those who misbehave.
Most of us might be familiar with this fruit and we might have different memories when we think about it. Some might recall a tropical vacation wherein they are sipping coconut water from a young coconut while sunbathing; and others would possibly envision their folks cooking their favorite dish using mature coconut as an ingredient. Some of you might even remember a song that was made famous by a teen singing group during the early 90’s (I think it goes like “it’s the coco fruit, from the coco tree…”). I’m sure that no Filipino would say that he/she is not familiar with this fruit. The Coconut tree might not be the national tree of the Philippines and the Coconut fruit might not be the national fruit as well but it is visible in almost every location. In fact, the Philippines was the world’s largest Coconut producer during the year 2007.
We are aware that the meat from a young coconut can be eaten. This is done by opening the shell and scraping it out. Different desserts can also be made from the meat such as buko salad, ingredient for halo-halo, and bukayo. It is also a fact that mature coconut (niyog) can be used in making sweets and serve as a cooking ingredient. But did you know that there are other valuable uses of coconut? According to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), the other uses of the Coconut are:
- Coconut flour can be extracted from Coconut – This can be used as a wheat extender in baking without affecting the appearance and quality of the product.
- Coconut oil (derived from dried coconut meat called “Copra) is the most readily digested of all the fats beating soya bean oil and palm oil.
- Coconut oil retards aging. It counteracts heart, colon, pancreatic and liver tumor inducers. And it is easy to digest.
- In the detergent industry, coconut oil is very important. Its most outstanding characteristic is its high saponification value in view of the molecular weight of most of the fatty acid glycerides it contains.
- Coconut oil is also used to make lard, coco chemicals, crude oil, pomade, shampoo, margarine, butter and cooking oil.
- Coconut water can be used to cure renal disorder. “Bukolysis”, as it is also called, is the medical process of reducing or dissolving urinary stones of the urinary tract systems using buko water from 7 to 9 months old coconuts. Bukolysis is the brainchild of Dr. Eufemio Macalalag Jr., a urologist. For preventive medication, water from one mature coconut consumed daily, could almost guarantee that the formation of stones in the urinary tract will be avoided.
- Coconut Husks are used by cottage industries to make brushes, doormats, carpets, bags, ropes, yarn fishing nets, and mattresses.
These are just a few benefits that can be derived from the Coconut fruit. For those who just discovered these facts, I’m sure that you’ll never look at a Coconut the same way again. Have I mentioned that more benefits can be derived from the Coconut tree itself?