The best luck we’ve had raising a coconut palm tree was not the one I started in the
house, it struggled to grow for years and then finally looked so badly it was moved out with the weekly trash. No, it was the one we planted in St. Croix. It was given to us by our son and already looked like a healthy, small tree, growing out of the husk of a coconut. It’s been a good ten years since we planted that one and it is now a flourishing coconut palm tree, producing fruit of its own.They begin bearing fruit five to six years after planting, and continue all year-round which is between 50 and 80 coconuts annually.
I’ve never given much thought to coconuts, until now when there is a great deal of talk about the health benefits of the fruit. When I was a kid my dad would occasionally buy one. I remember him drinking the water, which he called coconut milk, and I think he actually pushed a straw into one of the fruit’s three eyes, through which he sipped the special treat. He then would saw the coconut in half and everyone enjoyed the meat lining the inside. I don’t remember my mother grating it, and I don’t recall if all four of us kids liked coconut, but I did. Sometimes they are dried-out inside but Dad must have known how to pick a good coconut. They should be heavy and when shook, sound as if there is water inside.
I don’t see them in the stores. I may walk right by them. I have a feeling they’d be easy to
find in a health food store. I do remember my husband buying one, in St. Croix, where they are plentiful, not only in the stores, but under the coconut palm trees. However, It would take a heavy machete to get through the husk to reach the coconut. He wasn’t interested in either the water or the meat, and I don’t remember enjoying either one of these. He had a different reason for buying this coconut, for the sound effects the hard outside shell makes. Cut in half, when clapped together, these halves sound like horses clopping along.They make perfect sound effects for the song, “Sleigh Ride.”
I love coconut cream pie, coconut cake is good, too. And for the convenience most
everyone buys coconut for baking that is already packaged and ready to go. You can also take the fresh coconut, grate it and freeze it for later use. I’ve never baked much with coconut because we had a couple of sons in the family who didn’t like it. Proof of this was the collection of coconut eggs that were left each Easter in the freezer . All the other chocolate-covered eggs were eaten, but not those.
I always thought it was coconut milk inside the fruit, but that’s not so. It is water or juice and is sweet to taste and contains enzymes, vitamins and minerals. There is coconut milk but this is made by mixing coconut water and fresh coconut meat, which is then pressed to expel the milk. If all this sounds too time consuming, there is plenty of coconut water bottled, and on store shelves, ready for you to buy. In fact, it can also be ordered from Amazon.
Coconut water is the latest wonder drink and is linked to many health claims. Remember the Noni drink
that was so popular years ago, and still is today. The sale of this drink grew so big that people became distributors selling it out of their homes. Today, coconut water is one of the fastest growing new beverages in the United States. Why such a growth spurt for something we heard so little about a few years ago? Because of its many health claims. It’s being said that research is too limited to confirm all of these, but what can it hurt, especially if it may have the ability to prevent cancer. It is said to slow aging, promote smoother skin, regulate blood pressure, lower cholesterol, cure Alzheimer’s, break up kidney stones and help a range of digestive disorders. Since heart disease is a concern of many, another of its claims will interest nearly everyone. It’s believed that when drinking coconut water there is less chance that your arteries or blood vessels will clog, which lowers your risk of heart disease.
Make room for one more drink in your refrigerator. And maybe now, the coconuts
will become easier to find in the fruit sections of our grocery stores. Just think of all the fun you can have sipping, cracking, grating and chewing the fruit from this brown, hairy, heavy ball of fruit.
Well, what do you know about coconuts? Probably much more than I do. I’d love to hear your comments on Shirl and You.