Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association

Featured Fruit — Coconut

December 23, 2003

 

Coconut

Cocos nucifera

 

Coconuts are so common throughout the world’s tropical regions that the exact origin is unknown.  The fruit can float for long periods of time, following ocean currents to colonize new lands.  Coconuts were the Polynesian way of carrying water to drink on their long, migratory canoe trips.  A coconut can store its water (not milk – coconut milk is the product of the water inside combined with the shredded meat and then squeezed) for up to 6 months.  It is better than Gatorade – full of electrolytes and nutrients – aiding kidney and bowel function.  In emergency situations it can be used in the place of blood plasma intravenously.  It is also a good source of food, all in one package.  The shells can be used for bowls and utensils, the fibers from the husks can be twisted into rope, and the leaves can be woven into baskets, mats, or hats or used for housing materials.  Coconut oil can be used for soap and lotion.  And then, of course, the usefulness of the shells for coconut bras is irrefutable.

 

Coconut Willy’s Candy

Take one coconut and find the monkey ‘face’ on one side.  With an ice pick or screwdriver poke the ‘mouth’ and drain the water.  The water should be clear and have no off odors or oiliness.  Save for cooking or drink it fresh.  Hold the monkey face in one hand and with the FLAT of a hammer hit the coconut sharply several times while rotating it – it should split in half.  Place coconut on baking sheet in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes to loosen the meat.  Let it cool a bit, then with a sharp knife score it into manageable pieces to remove it.  Don’t worry about the brown side, it tastes fine.  With a sharp cheese slicer or vegetable peeler, shave coconut meat into slices.  Toss the shaved meat with raw sugar to coat (light brown will also do.)  Spread evenly onto a cookie sheet.  On the lowest temperature your oven can be set at (170 to 200) bake the coconut over night – 12 to 18 hours.  The sugar will melt and may get syrup like, but will dry out.  Check it at 12 hours and stir if necessary.  The finished product should be golden brown and dry to the touch, but give off a wonderful creaminess when bitten.  Store in an airtight container