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Jewish Recipes --> Jewish and Israeli Foods --> Coconut

The Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera), is a member of the Family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only species in the Genus Cocos, and is a large palm, growing to 30 m tall, with pinnate leaves 4-6 m long, pinnae 60-90 cm long; old leaves break away cleanly leaving the trunk smooth. The term coconut refers to the fruit of the coconut palm.

Nutritional properties of fresh coconut

Calories 177
Protein 1.7g
Fat 16.8g
Saturated Fat 14.8g
Carbohydrates 7.6g
Fibre 4.5g
Potassium 178mg
Phosphorus 57mg
Magnesium 16mg

All parts of the coconut palm are useful, and the trees have a comparatively high yield (up to 75 "nuts" per year); it therefore has significant economic value. The name for the coconut palm in Sanskrit is kalpa vriksha, which translates as "the tree which provides all the necessities of life". In Malay, the coconut is known as pokok seribu guna, "the tree of a thousand uses". In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly given the title "Tree of Life".

Uses of the various parts of the palm include:

  • The white, fleshy part of the seed is edible and used fresh or dried (desiccated) in cooking.
  • The cavity is filled with "coconut water" containing sugars, fibre, proteins, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals, which provide excellent isotonic electrolyte balance, and an exceptional nutritional food source, which is why it is used as a refreshing drink throughout the humid tropics. It is also used in the making of the gelatinous dessert nata de coco. Mature fruits have significantly less liquid than young immature coconuts. Coconut water is sterile until the coconut is opened (unless the coconut is spoiled).
  • Sport fruits are also harvested, primarily in the Philippines, where they are known as macapuno.
  • Coconut milk (which is approximately 17% fat) is made by processing grated coconut with hot water or hot milk which extracts the oil and aromatic compounds from the fibre.
  • Coconut cream is what rises to the top when coconut milk is refrigerated and left to set.
  • The leftover fibre from coconut milk production is used as livestock feed.
  • The sap derived from incising the flower clusters of the coconut is fermented to produce palm wine, also known as "toddy" or, in the Philippines, tuba.
  • Apical buds of adult plants are edible and are known as "palm-cabbage" (though harvest of this kills the tree).
  • The interior of the growing tip may be harvested as heart-of-palm and is considered a rare delicacy. Harvesting this also kills the tree. Hearts of palm are often eaten in salads; such a salad is sometimes called "millionaire's salad".
  • The coir (the fibre from the husk of the coconut) is used in ropes, mats, brushes, caulking boats and as stuffing fibre; it is also used extensively in horticulture for making potting compost.
  • Copra is the dried meat of the seed which is the source of coconut oil.
  • The leaves provide materials for baskets and roofing thatch.
  • The husk and shells can be used for fuel and are a good source of charcoal.
  • Hawaiians hollowed the trunk to form a drum, a container, or even small canoes.
  • The wood can be used for specialized construction (notably in Manila's Coconut Palace).
  • The stiff leaflet midribs make cooking skewers, kindling arrows, or bound into bundles, brooms and brushes.
  • The roots are used as a dye, a mouthwash, or a medicine for dysentery. A frayed-out piece of root makes a poor man's toothbrush.
  • Half coconut shells are used in theatre, banged together to create the sound effect of a horse's hoofbeats. They were also used in this way in the Monty Python film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • Dried half coconut shells are used to buff floors.
  • In fairgrounds, a "coconut shy" is a popular target practice game, and coconuts are commonly given as prizes.
  • A coconut can be hollowed out and used as a home for a rodent or small bird.
  • Coconut water can be used as an intravenous fluid
  • Fresh inner coconut husk can also be rubbed on the lens of snorkling goggles to prevent fogging during use
  • Dried half coconut shells are used as the bodies of musical instruments, including the Chinese yehu and banhu, and the Vietnamese đn go.

Sept 2005 - 2014 - Kosher Recipes - Kosher Cooking - Jewish Cooking - Jewish Recipes - Jewish Foods- Jewish Foods
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Bagels.