C is for Coconut

Good day. Surprised to see you hear in such an establishment. Ah, don’t recall me? We met last year but under the circumstances at the time, I’m not surprised. I’m Inspector Inquisitive. I am in the business of investigating information and strange occurrences.

Oh, yes. I’m on an assignment now. The royal house of Unsuredom contacted me last week to look into the history and any unseemly past for something called a coconut. It seems that they have some dignitaries visiting that prefer to have coconuts for most meals. Since the country of Unsuredom has never seen nor heard of such a thing, they hired me to look into it. It would not be seemly to have something embarrassing being served even for visitors.

I’ve learned so much. I’m meeting my contact today to hand over the data. Like what? Oh, I almost don’t know where to begin.

Are you familiar with the coconut? It is round and kind of hairy. This outer hairy shell is known as a husk. It is one of the most versatile things I have encountered. Some countries use it for cooking fuel. Others use the material to make clothes (might be a little itchy, I would think), rope (seems to be stronger than hemp that is used in some other countries), fishnets, and even bed mats. You can even use it as a dish or cup to eat out of. Amazing. I actually picked up one of these strange things during my travels and was amazed at the texture.

The inside is even more amazing. The younger nuts are known for their water which is extremely thirst quenching. Seems that this water has saved many a sailors’ life over the centuries. It is high in minerals and there is a claim that it is good in cleaning the kidneys. (Off the record, maybe the queen could use this.)

The more mature nuts have some “meat” and “milk” that is considered quite valuable by many. Sugar and oil is also derived from this rather large nut. The milk and the meat are used extensively in cooking in so many countries that my expense report will be very large this time. At first it seemed that it was only used in deserts, but then I ended up in Thailand where I was introduced to it being used in main dishes. It is so sweet and delicious.

Look at this list of recipes and this is just a sample of them.

Chewy Coconut Cookies – It was love at first bite for me.

Bonbon Jovi – per the women I met, these are as good as he is goodlooking

Ginger Angel Food Cake with Coconut Frosting – What a way to end a 10 course meal!

Chicken and Coconut Casserole – one of my favorites off an island somewhere in the Pacific

The oil that is derived from it is used both internally and externally. Some claim that it helps with circulation, stronger teeth, prevention of cancer, aids in digestion, fighting infections, improve texture of skin and hair, helps in weight loss, and could be a big boost for anyone needing energy.

That is the most current information that I could find on this strange nut. So I then began to look at its past to see what I could uncover.

It’s name is derived from the Portuguese who called it coco which means “grinning face” or “monkey face” because of some strange markings on it that make it resemble a face. Vasco de Gama, a famous explorer, brought it back to Europe.

I tried to discover exactly where it came from because that can say a lot about a food. I got as far as somewhere around New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean. Believe it or not, it was not man that helped it spread throughout the tropics. These nuts are so light that they fall into the ocean and float to other islands and then reproduce. I am amazed more and more by this strange looking nut.

There are over 20 billion of these things harvested every year. Though it only takes 1 year for a palm tree to mature and begin bearing coconuts, the average tree produces 60 a year if not more.

They are so popular and valuable that the Nicoban Islands used them as currency until the early 1900’s.

Then I began to discover some of the skeletons in the coconut’s closet. It allows it sap from the tree to be used in making a fermented drink. It does not care if it is legal or not. After tasting its sweet nectar, I was so disappointed to hear of its blind eye to the law. Then to make matters worse, I discovered that many of its family members are cold-milked murders. There are reports of 150 deaths a year from falling coconuts. That is more than a shark claims. And keep in mind that this is only the reported ones.

My conclusion? I think that the coconut is worth bringing in and introducing to our cooks. They might need some initial training on how to properly handle them, but I think that it could revolutionize our cuisine. But I would strongly suggest that they keep tight security around them and monitor them closely. It seems that the innocence they project could be a ruse.

It was so good to see you again. I see my contact coming in the door now. Maybe we can meet again over coffee. I received a message from another client that wants to look into something called a date. Or maybe they are asking me out on one. I’ll have to replay that message.

Until next time!

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Comments 20 comments

eovery profile image

eovery 8 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

Aw, I thought you could milk this for a little more.

RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin Author

It was a hard nut to crack.

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

Look! There in the sky! It's a nut! It's a fruit! No...it's a seed!

Thanks for the background on the versatile coconut. I am truly a lover of this noble delectable! As a youngster, my mom made me a coconut cake or coconut pie on my birthday. Why, I just baked home-made coconut brownies a couple of nights ago. Oh, yea, and my favorite song is "Put the Lime in the Coconut" by Neilson. I gues you could say I'm a coconut nut!

Seriously, thanks for an entertaining read!

P.S. So that's why there are so many monkeys named "Coco!"

RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin Author

You are most welcome. My mother always made my brother a coconut pie for his birthday. To ensure that no one else ate, he would lick his finger and poke it throughout the pie. He is over 50 and he still does that because it is his pie. The coconut is for sure a favorite of his.

I absolutely love coconut shrimp.

dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi Rgraf, I never knew the coconut had such an interesting background. In the Philippines we use them is almost all the ways you described. You made me appreciate the coconut nut more. Thanks:)

RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Most welcome. Is the coconut a regular at the table in the Philippines?

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

What a fun Hub, and informative, too! It just reminded me that I have one last piece of coconut fudge left in the fridge, and I'm going to get it and eat it right now.

I had once heard that you are safer swimming with sharks than standing under coconut palms. Thanks for the stats.

You milked this topic quite nicely. :)

RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I was very surprised at the number of deaths.

I began to crave coconut cake after doing this article!

tourmaline2777 profile image

tourmaline2777 8 years ago from Chicago

Yum! coconut cake- one of my favorites. I also love using coconut milk on cereal. I buy the can an dilute it with water-cheaper than cow, goat, or soy.

RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Never would have thought of using it on cereal. I'll have to try that.

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

Oh I am a big fan of coconut cream pie--yum--and this hub is yummy too--crammed full of interesting info. thumbs up for coconuts:-)

RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Lgali, thanks for stopping by.

Robie, I haven't had a good coconut cream pie in years. After writing this, I admit that I began to crave it. Might have to make one. Thanks for the visit :)

dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Oh yes, most special Filipino dishes and desert use the coconut milk. It brings out the flavor and aroma of the food. We use almost all the parts of the coconut tree. A famous Filipino composer even made a novelty song about it. Here's the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQtmOp82RD0. Enjoy

RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I would love to hear this. but the link is not working for me.

cflynn profile image

cflynn 8 years ago from Ireland

i too lurve the cocnuts, im allways ready to try more recipes thanks

RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Most welcome. Enjoy them.

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

My favorite!!! Coconut cake nd coconut pie...oh my!! and I never knew this about the coconut...you DID milk it for all it's worth!! loved the hub, such a fun style of writing!! =))

RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Patty Inglish actually inspired me with a comment she made on my B is for Banana article. The creative juices got to flowing (and that's not easy for me). :)

Mr Nice profile image

Mr Nice 8 years ago from North America

Hard to crack but yummy to drink the juice & enjoy the meat. Coconut has many health benefits as you explained & Virgin Coconut Oil offers great hope for those suffering from hypothyroidism.

RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Mr. Nice, very true. It's amazing how much it can do.

Thanks for stopping by.

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    RGraf profile image

    Rebecca Graf (RGraf)874 Followers
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    Rebecca Graf is an experienced writer with nearly a decade of writing experience with degrees in accounting, history and creative writing.

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