An entertaining history and botanical description of the coconut tree. Benefits and value, applications, place in cooking. TOP 20 interesting facts about coconut.
The fruit of the coconut palm is an exotic that attracted and beckons, even if you can buy a coconut today in almost every supermarket. It is associated with heavenly pleasure and is considered extremely useful. 20 interesting facts about coconut will help you get to know the delicious and mysterious "nut" better.
Interesting botanical description of the coconut tree
The coconut tree is the only tree of a genus called Cocos. It grows everywhere in the tropics, and began to spread, according to scientists, from Southeast Asia - roughly from Malaysia. When exactly a person mastered the plant, learned to use its gifts, science does not know for sure. It is said that in India and the Philippines, Sri Lanka and the Malacca Peninsula, people have been using the fruits, trunk, leaves of the coconut palm since prehistoric times. It is curious that the range has expanded in many ways naturally. After all, "nuts" perfectly float on water!
To better understand what a coconut tree is and how it grows, here are 10 fun facts about coconuts:
- The name of the palm tree comes from the word "coco", which means "monkey" in Portuguese. This is because there are spots on the surface, which, together with the outlines, resemble the face of an animal.
- Trees prefer to grow by the sea, and willingly take root in the sand. The plant chooses coastal zones for a reason: they require a lot of salt to grow.
- The age of a palm tree is determined by the number of leaf scars: approximately one leaf disappears every month.
- Surely everyone is used to thinking of coconut as a nut. But from a biological point of view, this is not entirely correct. The fruit that grows on a coconut tree is called a drupe. That is, it is actually closer to apricots and plums.
- The fruit of the coconut tree has a multi-layered structure to protect the seed from overheating and to provide buoyancy. Outside is a leathery exocarp laced with fibers called coir. Fleshy flesh inside. This is the so-called mesocarp with a thickness of 2 to 15 cm. It is he who can be eaten while the fetus is young. The third layer is an inner shell with three pores that lead to the ovules.
- From three ovules, only one seed is obtained. It would seem that the chances of spreading culture around the world are minimal. However, coconut seeds are so well protected from environmental damage that they retain the ability to germinate even if left in water for up to 80 days. They do not rot, do not germinate. In fact, they lie in a cozy storage, supplied with nutrients, and in this form are able to swim hundreds of thousands of kilometers.
- The tree grows up to 30 meters high! That is, it is equal to a 10-storey building.
- Curiously, palm trees usually have strictly 20 to 35 leaves. Each of them grows for about a year, reaching a maximum size by that age. After the leaf is kept on the trunk for another three years.
- One bud is responsible for the life of a palm tree. It is located at the very top. It is enough to damage it for the plant to die.
- "The tree of lazy people" - this is also sometimes called the coconut tree. Such a nickname was given to her by witty people, after analyzing all the facts about the coconut. After all, the plant brings all of itself as a gift to man. Moreover, it does not require special care - even watering.
Interesting uses for coconut
That's not all there is to know about coconut! Mostly the inhabitants of our latitudes have heard only about coconut milk and shavings, which are used in sweets.More recently, information about the benefits of coconut oil has reached. But still, this is extremely small to appreciate the full significance of the plant. Everything that reaches our stores is the kernel of the fruit, peeled from the outer layer of the peel. In places of growth, the coconut palm is used almost completely. But at first she lives for about a hundred years, giving 400 "nuts" a year!
7 facts about coconut that show how incredibly valuable and healthy it is
- Coconut water is completely sterile until the fruit is opened. Therefore, for about 60-70 years, it was used even instead of blood plasma, when a transfusion was needed.
- Coconuts are bactericidal. Therefore, they do not rot or mold, even in the most intense heat. So in their homeland they are fully counted on as a safe source of food and drink.
- Palm wood is used to create furniture, and in Manila (the capital of the Philippines) a whole palace was built from it.
- Shaggy "hair" from the fetus is the strongest fiber. They are used for weaving ropes and cords, textiles.
- Even the shell of the fruit has a use! Activated carbon is made from it.
- Coconut oil is used for food and cosmetics. Coconut is useful for hair, body, face, nails. Researchers believe they can replace regular toothpaste. It doesn’t have all of those chemicals, but it does have bactericidal properties, so it helps you take care of your teeth while maintaining hygiene. And that's not all the benefits of coconuts, or rather oil!
- It turns out that in New Caledonia (this is the overseas possession of France) there is a power plant where coconut oil is used as fuel.
Modern civilized countries still underestimate the importance and benefits of exoticism. Although scientists managed to notice that the inhabitants of the Philippines and Sri Lanka do not suffer from hypertension, their cholesterol is normal, and among the islanders there are almost no obese people. Research leads to suspicion that the reason for this is precisely the most valuable coconut with magical properties.
For cosmetology, the composition of the coconut is simply perfect. It is so natural and harmless that there is almost never an allergic or other negative reaction to it. It is only important to check that the coconut mask or other cosmetic product does contain quality ingredients.
Interesting facts about the use of coconut in cooking
Of course, the facts about coconut as a culinary product are probably the most interesting. Seeing round fruits with three characteristic spots, I want to taste them. Alas, often the first acquaintance ends in disappointment.
First of all, the real taste of coconut can be felt in the place where it grows. Since you can buy there, or even find yourself, fresh fruit is guaranteed. By the way, it is imperative to be careful when traveling to the tropics. Because hundreds of people die every year in the world … from the fall of a "nut" on the head! The Kingdom of Tonga in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean in this regard can be considered almost damned. In a tiny state, most deaths are precisely due to the fact that coconuts are falling on their heads. But this will not make you give up the pleasure of eating fruits and drinking precious liquid!
If there is no way to go to the tropics to pick up a fresh coconut under a palm tree, you need to find it correctly in the supermarket:
- Before buying, the fruit is shaken: you need to listen to if water is splashing inside. The more it is, the younger the "nut". There will be a lot of "milk" in it, and the pulp will also conquer with tenderness.
- There is one more hint on how to choose a coconut - by its three "eyes" or characteristic specks. These places are the most delicate and vulnerable. Therefore, by their appearance, one can understand how fresh the fruit is, whether it has had time to spoil. There should be no damage in these places.
- In general, the fruit should be whole, without cracks, dents.
If the exotic first fell into your hands, it is useful to learn how to open a coconut.This is real art! First you need to pierce one of the "eyes" - choose the softest. It is visually slightly larger and rounder. You can pierce this place with a screwdriver, an awl, or a narrow sturdy knife. And now they immediately drink some water! You can pour it into a cup, or even more interesting, insert a straw and sip.
Now you have to tinker to extract the pulp. The fruit can be split into pieces, then pry on a knife or screwdriver, separating the snow-white mass from the rind. But how is coconut eaten? Is it really easy to take and gnaw the pulp? Someone also likes this method. However, you can and should try a variety of recipes with coconut.
For example, the pulp is cut into slices, poured with milk and insisted, it turns out a delicious dessert. You can enjoy it, not counting the calories in coconut - their minimum. If you don't like eating the fruit like this, you can grate it and dry it. Later, dried coconut is used to prepare a variety of dishes. First of all, sweets come to mind - pies, cakes, pastries. What a delicate exotic shade the cream with coconut takes on! But you can and should also try ordinary dishes with the addition of such an interesting ingredient. It is added to meat and fish.
Three interesting facts about coconut in cooking
- Coconut water and coconut milk are completely different things. There is some water in the drupe, which is very young, not fully ripe. Therefore, it is still green on top. Later, the fruit darkens, turns brown. Then it is opened: first, a hole is made to drain the liquid, then the pulp is extracted. And to get milk, pulp is chopped, then mixing it with liquid.
- The coconut tree is the raw material for the production of alcohol! In the Philippines, it is obtained from the delicate buds of the plant. The drink is called Lambanog. Initially, it was made only at home, but thanks to the surge in tourists' interest, the industrial production of "coconut vodka" was established.
- This is a real superfood! Coconut pulp contains a whole complex of vitamins - K, B1, B3, B6, C and E. It is believed that it contains the entire minimum of nutrients necessary for survival. At the same time, the calorie content of coconut is quite low.
Watch a video about the beneficial properties of coconut: