By the middle 1800s, 6,000 tons of desiccated coconut was being shipped. This figure multiplied by ten in 1900. There are two major stages of maturity for the coconut: Young Coconut-prized for its sweet, revitalizing juice - the meat is very thin, soft and sweet. Mature Coconut-thick, firm flesh used in shredded form world-wide mostly for baked goods. The mature coconut flesh is very nutty and has a somewhat chewy texture with much higher oil content than the young coconut.
Vistors to Yoconut.com
Click on the picture for more from IFE2007
Coconuts "soul food of the tropics."
The coconut is rated very highly in many parts of the world as a “tree of life”, mainly because it provides, much that is important to the everyday needs to so many people.
We believe that countries were the coconut palm grows; more then likely received the first seeds from the world’s oceans - little buoyant bobbing green nuts being washed ashore in Southeast Asia, India, many Pacific Islands, Hawaii, South America and Florida. No one really is 100% sure from which region the coconut originated, but an educated guess names Malaysia and Indonesia.
Early explorers thought that the three eyes at the base of the coconut were similar to a goblin or monkey face. And so it was named from the ancient Portuguese word “coco,” which means goblin or monkey face.
!519 was the year that Magellan had 5 ships leaving Spain in the hope of find a route west to the Spice Islands. On one of those ships there was a passenger called Antonio Pigafetta - A nobleman from Venice. Lucky for us Antonio kept an excellent journal of his journey!
After problems with disease and starvation the fleet decided as a last resort to go ashore on Guam. The landing party, were met by savage natives wearing coconut shell masks and shaking coconut shell rattles. After a lot of negotiating they left with much needed provisions and a very good supply of coconuts!
Antonio Pigafetta wrote in his journal: "Coconuts are the fruit of the palm trees. And as we have bread, wine, oil and vinegar, so they get all these things from the said trees ... With two of these palm trees a whole family of ten can sustain itself...they last for a hundred years."
Many travelers made mention of coconuts, however, they remained very much unknown outside of their tropics, until around the 1830s when an English person named J.W.Bennett wrote about the coconut, revealing that the charcoal from the shell, for example, was a beneficial tooth cleanser, and the water from the coconut helped remove wrinkles. This “wrinkle cream” finally spurred European interest in the "nut." With sugar plentiful in Europe during this time period, candy and pastry businesses boomed. Fruits and nuts were incorporated into confections, and naturally the coconut flesh was quite desirable.
Because of the expense involved in shipping whole coconuts to England a French Company - JH Vavasseur and Company - set up shop in Ceylon with a unique solution to the expensive shipping issue: shred the coconut flesh, dry it thoroughly (less spoilage and easier to pack) and it ship off to destinations demanding it.
copyright PLL 2007
History of the Coconut!