The Coconut …Is it a fruit? Welcome to Fruity Fridays where I showcase a different fruit each week.
I am sometimes flummoxed by what is a fruit, a nut or a seed or indeed a tree …Take the Papaya tree which grows in abundance here and also I will add grows very quickly …It has fruit with the same name as the tree but it is a PLANT …It has no branches and a soft stem with all the very large leaves at the top and can grow up to 10 metres high. It is, in fact, a herbaceous plant as the stem bears little wood and stays green and soft until it dies. But ask anyone here and they will call it a Papaya tree…
Which brings me back to the Coconut …Well, it has a hard outer shell-like a nut, doesn’t it?
Don’t you think my Coconut tree looks magnificent?
Botanically it is known as a one-seeded drupe otherwise known as a dry drupe.
Where does that leave us? With a fruit, a nut and a seed?
The name itself infers it is a nut….after all, a nut can be defined as a one-seeded fruit. But true nuts do not open on maturity and release their seeds… the nut has to decay and then it releases its seeds and is dispersed by an animal either in its faeces or just by being dropped on the ground.
The coconut we buy in the shops or market has no resemblance to the coconut on my tree and until I moved here I thought there was only one type of coconut…
There are so many here coconuts for drinking, eating the soft flesh, hard and hairy like the ones I knew…I am certainly furthering my education by leaps and bounds although I have always been inquisitive…Yeh Yeh…Ok..plain nosey…I like to know things…
It has 3 layers the first is typically green …This layer is called exocarp then you get the fibrous husk( mesocarp) this surrounds the woody layer ( endocarp) which surrounds the seed…. which is what you get in the supermarkets.
But did you know???
The coconut palm is not a tree as it has no bark, no branches, or secondary growth. It is a woody perennial known as monocotyledons as the trunk is the stem.
The coconut is known as the Tree of Life as every bit of the tree is and can be used for drinks, fibre, food, fuel, musical instruments, cooking utensils and so much more.
it is also claimed although not formally recorded that during World War 11 and the Vietnam war when intravenous (IV) solution was in short supply, doctors used coconut water as a substitute for IV solutions.
If the shell of the coconut has not been cracked, the coconut water inside is usually sterile – that is, free of bacteria and the like. So technically it could be injected safely into people, to replace fluid loss? It might, however, be said it might just be better just to drink it to replace blood plasma.
So do we now know what the coconut is? A fruit, nut or seed?
Mangoes, peaches and almonds are in the same drupe family as the coconut. Although the coconut is a dry drupe and peaches and mango are fleshy drupes. Well, I clearly am not a botanical expert but in my world but I have always thought of those as fruits so the coconut to me is a cross between a fruit and a nut which we eat the flesh off and drink the lovely juice of a huge seed.
There you have it!
Just in case you missed it…Here is my post on how to make your own coconut oil... Which would make a lovely present especially…shhhhhh, with Christmas coming…
If you just want to make something for yourself and your family then these macaroons are easy to make and delicious.
What to make when you have egg whites leftover from making Carbonara? I have not made coconut macaroons for years. Next time for a little more colour I will lightly toast my coconut and maybe melt some chocolate and drizzle over them.
- 4 egg whites
- 3 cups of desiccated coconut or fresh coconut if you have it.
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 tsp of vanilla essence
- 1/4 tsp of salt
Whisk the egg whites, sugar, vanilla essence and salt until the mix is soft and frothy.
Fold in the coconut and put spoonfuls on a lined baking tray.
Cook in a preheated oven on 350F or 175 C for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on a baking tray.
This recipe made about 12 depending on the size of your spoon.
Coconut any which way is available here and my early morning drink is often just a glass of fresh coconut juice…be very careful if you are coconut juice from a store though as often it is laden with sugar and not 100% coconut juice.
Coconut cream/milk is also used in curries and desserts…if you love cream but are looking for a great dairy-free option then make your own in a trice…easy to do just follow my recipe…
This lovely cream is a great alternative to fresh cream ….Fresh cream is not readily available here and tends to be treated so this little discovery was and is a godsend even hubby who loves cream liked it …
If you are trying to cut down not only on added sugars but fat and I have seen many recipes for making a non-dairy cream with coconut cream/milk that I thought it was time I tried it as this is the home of coconuts…haha…
Coconut milk is in the fridge as is the stainless steel pot and the whisk blades…Everything must be cold…It is quick and easy it whipped up in about 2 minutes if that I added nothing and as I said it was very nice even hubby who loves fresh cream and lots of it had to admit it tasted good…I think it is easier here as our coconut milk is 100% no additives at all…I will be making this in future and it is so much healthier. A non-dairy cream which would go with any dessert.
But not everyone thinks coconut oil is good for you… Coconut oil is “pure poison,” says Harvard professor… Good fats come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. Healthy fats are liquid at room temperature, not solid….. The plot thickens my coconut oil is liquid? Far to warm here to solidify…
I know coconuts are high in saturated fats but…MODERATION… My health has improved since I have incorporated coconut oil etc in my diet although depending on what I am making I may use olive oil or another healthy oil again it is about balance and moderation…
Some research states that the saturated fat from the coconut may, react differently to other saturated fats in our bodies…..Why? Because most of the saturated fats in coconut are medium-chain fatty acids whose properties metabolism are different from those of animal origin. Medium-chain fatty acids do not undergo degradation and re-esterification processes and are directly used in the body to produce energy. They are not as ‘bad for health’ as other saturated fats.
Personally, I love coconut and I love how it is utilised here not only for food but for wrapping goods or food whilst steaming…it is environmentally friendly and that suits me…
That’s all for today…I hope you have enjoyed learning about the versatile coconut …
Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous week and stay safe these are troubling times xx