The Philippine Coconut

Coconut from the PhilippinesThe Philippine Coconut

The coconut tree is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family)and the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut. The spelling cocoanut is an archaic form of the word. The term is derived from the 16th-century Portuguese and Spanish word coco meaning head or skull, from the three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facial features.

Coconuts are known for their great versatility, as evidenced by many traditional uses, ranging from food to cosmetics. They form a regular part of the diets of many people in the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are distinct from other fruits for their large quantity of water and when immature, they are known as tender-nuts or jelly nuts and may be harvested for their potable coconut water. When mature, they still contain some water and can be used as seeds nuts or processed to give oil from the kernel, charcoal from the hard shell, and coir from the fibrous husk. The endosperm is initially in its nuclear phase suspended within the coconut water. As development continues, cellular layers of endosperm deposit along the walls of the coconut, becoming the edible coconut flesh.When dried, the coconut flesh is caled copra. The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying, as well as in soaps and cosmetics. The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating. The coconut also has cultural and religious significance in certain societies, particularly in India, where it used in Hindu rituals. Many varieties of coconuts C.nuciferia are being cultivitaed in many countries. These vary by the taste of the coconut water and color of the fruit, as well as other genetic.


The coconut is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and nonculinary uses, virtually every part of the coconut can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value. Coconuts versatility is sometimes noted in its naming. In Sanskrit, it is kalpa vriksha (the tree which provides all the necessities of life). In the Malay language, it is pokok seribu gun (the tree of a thousand uses). In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly called the tree of life.


The various parts of the coconut have a number of culinary uses. The seed provides oil for frying, cooking, and making margarine. The white, fleshy part of the seed, the coconut meat, is used fresh or dried in cooking, especially in confections and desserts such as macaroons. Desiccated coconut or coconut milk made from its frequently added to curries and other savory dishes. Coconut flour has also been developed for use in baking, to combat malnutrition. Coconut chips have been sold in the tourist regions of Hawaii and the Caribbean. Coconut butter is often used to describe solidified coconut oil, but has also been adopted as a name by certain specialty products made of coconut milk solids or pureed coconut meat and oil. Dried coconut is also used as the filling for many chocolate bars. Some dried coconut is purely coconut, but others are manufactured with other ingredients, such as sugar, propylene glycol, salt and sodium metabisulfite. Some countries in Southeast Asia use special coconut mutant called Kopyor (in Indonesia) or macapuno (in Philippines) as dessert drinks.


Per 100 gram serving with 354 calories, raw coconut meat supplies a high amount of total fat (33 grams), especially saturated fat (89% of total fat) and carbohydrates (24g) table. Micronutrients in significant content include the dietary minerals manganese, iron, phosphorus and zinc.


Coconut water serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during its nuclear phase of development. Later, the endosperm matures and deposits onto the coconut rind during the cellular phase. It is consumed throughout the humid tropics, and has been introduced into the retail market as a processed sports drink. Mature fruits have significantly less liquid than young, immature coconuts, barring spoilage. Coconut water can be fermented to produce coconut vinegar.

Per 100gram serving, coconut water 19 calories and no significant content of essential nutrients.


Coconut milk, not to be confused with coconut water, is obtained primarily by extracting juice by pressing the grated coconut, which extracts the oil and aromatic compounds. It has a total fat content of 24 %,most of which (89%) is saturated fat, with lauric acid as a major fatty acid. When refrigerated and left to set, coconut cream will rise to the top and separate from the milk. The milk can be used to produce virgin coconut oil by controlled heating and removal of the oil fraction.

A Protein-rich powder can be processed from coconut milk following centrifugation, separation, and spray drying.


Another product of the coconut oil. It is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying. It can be used in liquid form as would other vegetable oils,or in solid form as would butter or lard.


The sap derived from incising the flower clusters of the coconut is drunk as neera, also known as toddy or tuba(Philippines), tuak (Indonesia and Malaysia) or karewe (fresh and not fermented) in Kiribati. When left to ferment on its own, it becomes palm wine. Palm wine is distilled to produce arrack, in the Philippines, this alcoholic drink is called lambanog or coconut vodka.

The sap can be reduced by boiling to create a sweet syrup or candy such as te kemamai in Kiribati or dhyiaa hakuru and addu bondi in the Maldives. It can be reduced further to yield coconut sugar also referred to as palm sugar or jaggery. A young well maintained tree can produce around 300(66 imp gal,110 us gal)


Apical buds of adult plants are edible and are known as palm cabbage or heart of palm. They are considered a rare delicacy as harvesting the buds kills the palms. Hearts of palm are eaten in salads,sometimes called millionaire’s salad. Newly germinated coconuts contain an edible fluff of marshmallow-like consistently called coconut sprout, produced as the endosperm nourishes the developing embryo.


The Philippines is the worlds second largest producer of coconuts, the production of coconuts plays an important role in the economy. Coconuts in the Philippines are usually used in making main dishes, refreshments, and desserts. Coconut juice is also a popular drink in the country. In the Philippines, particularly in Cebu, rice is wrapped in coconut leaves for cooking and subsequent storage, these packets are called puso. Coconut milk, known as gata, and grated coconut flakes are used in the preparation of dishes such as laing, ginataan, bibingka, ube halaya, pitsi-pitsi, palitaw, buko, and coconut pie. Coconut jam is made by mixing muscovado sugar with coconut milk. Coconut sport fruits are also harvested. One such variety of coconut is known as macapuno. Its meat is sweetened,cut into strands, and sold in glass jars as coconut strings, sometimes labeled as gelatinous mutant coconut. Coconut water can be fermented to make a different product-nata de coco (coconut gel).

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