Cătălina Gabriela Popovici
Clasa a 12-a B
Colegiul Național “Mircea cel Bătrân”
The coconut tree ( Cocos nucifera ) is a plant that belongs to the Arecaceae family ( palm family ). The coconut tree is the only species of this kind, and is a large palm , with heights up to 30 meters, with pinnate leaves, 4-6 m in length; older leaves come off, leaving the trunk smooth . The term coconut refers to the fruit of the tree. Botanically it is not a nut, it is classified as a seed (the largest in the world), or as a drupe, along with plums.
The coconut tree is native to North and South America, but has spread rapidly to other continents . Each year more than 61 tonnes are produced in countries such as Indonesia, India, Brazil and Sri Lanka.
The coconut is rich in vitamins , nutrients and carbohydrates. Rich in protein, the white pulp of the coconut contains vitamin B, zinc, phosphorus and iron.
For a long time the coconut oil was considered unhealthy because of high levels of fat it containes. Only recently it has been proved the opposite . The components of this oil are very good for our health especially because of the presence of the lauric acid, which we find only in breast milk. The acid makes breast milk so easy to digest, protecting the body from infections and supporting the immune system.
|Coconut-inner edible solid part, raw (fresh kopra)|
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||354 kcal (1,480 kJ)|
|Thiamine (B1)||0.066 mg|
|Riboflavin (B2)||0.02 mg|
|Niacin (B3)||0.54 mg|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||1.014 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.05 mg|
|Vitamin C||3.3 mg|
The coconut is a staple food, from which you can eat the pulp, the water or the milk. The most important, however, is the coconut oil, found in the diet of those living in the tropics for thousands of years. It has a wide application both in cooking and in traditional and modern medicine.
The lauric acid found in the oil, is converted by the body into monolaurin, which has antiviral and antibacterial effects, destroying various pathogenic bacteria. Several studies have highlighted the antimicrobial effects of the lauric acid.
One of the most remarkable features of these acids is the ability to destroy bacteria that causes stomach ulcers, sinus infections, urinary tract cavities infections, pneumonia and other. It can destroy fungi, viruses that cause influenza, measles, herpes, mononucleosis, hepatitis C and AIDS.
Coconut oil used in an amount of 60 % of the daily caloric percentage does not have any adverse effect. Those who live in the tropics and have a diet rich in coconut oil enjoy a good general health.
Often confused with coconut milk, coconut water is what you hear when you take a fresh coconut and shake it. It is rich in electrolytes, potassium, calcium and sodium. These electrolytes are very important for nerve and muscle function , hydratation and maintaining the blood pH. Coconut milk is found in supermarkets or it can be made at home. It is used for cooking various dishes and the cream obtained from the coconut milk is fat and generally used in sweets.
Coconut oil has long been neglected because of the high fat content.
Further research shows that, in fact, saturated fats contained in these oils are very beneficial to the bod, helping to lower bad cholesterol. Other beneficial effects of coconut oil: it is very stable when heated and has a large amount of antioxidants.
In the Indian culture, breaking a coconut symbolizes the destruction of the ego and teh recognition of humility before God.
Lapte de nuca de cocos
Preferred are the largest and heaviest coconuts, which have much water inside. If the nuts are light and have no juice, then they are too old or damaged.
Despite all these precautions before buying a coconut it is still very possible that when you get home you notice that the nut is not at all palatable,or it is rotten or has bad taste.
After purchasing the nut, it is best to use it that day or the next day. You can put it in the refrigerator so it will not get degraded, but the longer it stays there, the greater the possibility that the nut will not be as you want it.
How to make coconut milk
Grind the pulp in a blender. Heat about 750-900 ml clean water safe to drink. The water should be hot. Meanwhile prepare a big enough cloth and place it in a double layer over a bowl. The cloth should be large enough so that you can then easily squeeze the coconut . We have three bowls: one in which the first milk is squeezed, and two for the second milk. Pour a cup of boiling water over the shredded coconut . Blend it one minute then put the nut on cloth. Squeeze a little with the back of a spoon so fluid begins to flow into the bowl.
Then leave it to cool for 2-3 minutes , tighten the cloth and begin to squeeze the margins as well, so it will not leave any milk behind. This is the first milk which contains most of the fat.
Place squeezed nuts back into blender and pour the rest of the hot water. Mix another 1-2 minutes, then proceed as above.
Throw the remaining pulp. It has no nutritional value and no taste . Wash the cloth with soap and warm water and put it to dry for future use.