How much do you know about the coconut?
The coconut, whether big or small, is a sweet name to say and even sweeter to eat or drink. It is also pure joy to feel its fragrance on our bodies because it always transports us to the seaside at sunset.
But do we know enough about this little exotic wonder?
- Also known as the jewel of the tropical coast, with over 1,300 different types, the coconut is one of ten economically most important trees whose every part is used for production. Although its origin is subject to debate, the established opinion is that it was most commonly found in Indonesia and the Pacific, particularly the regions of Melanesia, Malaysia and the Indian Ocean. It may be said that the current version of the coconut is a predominantly domestic plant rather than the primitive one which may still be found in fossils in some parts of North America and Indonesia.
- The coconut was unknown in Western civilisation until the 6th century when it was brought from Egypt across the Indian Ocean. On his travels around India Marco Polo called it the Pharaoh’s Nut. During the Middle Ages its shell was polished and cast in gold. By the 19th century, thanks to trade routes, it reached Europe and gradually became part of everyday life there.
- Because of its ability to float, coconut shells have managed to reach as far as Scandinavia.
- It is thought to have been named by Portuguese sailors in the 16th century, who called it “’Coco”’, which meant “smiling face/grimace’’, because of its three holes, reminding of a human face.
- In the Maldives the coconut palm is a national tree, considered to be the most important plant on the island.
- APCC – the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community consists of eighteen countries, including India, which founded this organisation for the purpose of the promotion, enticement and preservation of the development of activities including the use of all coconut potentials. They celebrate 2nd September as Coconut Day.
- In the United States of America the coconut also has its day in a way. National Coconut Cream Pie Day is celebrated on 8th May in honour of juicy and delicious pies with coconut as the main ingredient.
- Since the coconut tree itself is dangerous to climb, Sumatra farmers train a special species of monkey, the simian, from the clade Haplorhini, to climb the trees and bring down the fruit.
- The juice obtained by cutting bunches of coconut flowers is called neera or tuba in the Philippines, and tuak in Indonesia and Malaysia. When the juice is left to ferment, the product is palm wine which is then distilled for the drink called arrack. In the Philippines this alcoholic drink is called lambanog, also known as special coconut vodka. If the juice is left to boil, the final result is a sweet syrup or dessert called dhiyaa hakuru iaddu bondi, with the same name used in the Maldives as well.
- Another curiosity regarding the coconut is that it has become this year’s exotic Wellness flavour of the season. Start enjoying it as soon as possible because the Wellness Coconut series is limited. Let this new summer flavour get you and awaken a good feeling in you.