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Breaking into Coconut

Coconut is an edible fruit from the Cocos nucifera, a coconut tree that belongs to the palm family, also called Arecaceae. Coconuts are very prevalent in tropical areas. Their exact origins are unknown. However, it is widely believed that the coconut originated in Southeast Asia, particularly Indo-Malaysia.

A mature coconut is an ellipsoid. It is 12 to 18 inches long with a 6 to 8-inch diameter. A coconut growing on a palm tree has three layers:

· Exocarp, the outermost layer

· Mesocarp, or the fibrous husk

· Endocarp, the woody layer surrounding the seed

The color of the husk is also indicative of the coconut’s ripeness. A dark brown husk represents a mature coconut. The exocarp and mesocarp are usually removed for sale purposes.

Uses of a Coconut

An average coconut palm tree yields up to 75 nuts a year. Almost all parts of the coconut are useful, which gives this fruit a high economic value.

The white coconut flesh can be consumed raw or cooked, and can be used in a variety of dishes. Coconut meat is rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. You can mix grated coconut with hot water and press it through a cheesecloth to make coconut milk, a staple in Thai, Srilankan and South Indian cuisines. The hard coconut shell has a sweet liquid called coconut water. This refreshing drink has several health benefits.

Coconut can be used to make coconut oil, a versatile find. Coconut oil is used in baking as a replacement for butter. It can also be used to promote skin and hair health.

Cooking and eating in a coconut shell transfers an aroma and several nutrients to the food, which aid in digestion. Coconut husks can be used to scrub and are commonly used in villages to make ropes. Coconut flowers are used for medicinal purposes.

How to Store a Coconut?

Whole coconuts will last for 4 months at room temperature. Place whole coconuts in a dark, cold spot of the refrigerator to extend their longevity up to 6 months. Once out of the shell, keep the coconut meat in an airtight bag in the refrigerator. If the coconut meat is yellow instead of white in color, it means the coconut has gone bad and is no longer suitable for consumption.

Following are some of the other websites that the author Amita Vadlamudi maintains.


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