Have you taken a good look at a coconut- an inside/outside look?
After you’ve had that amazing refreshing drink of coconut water, or ate your fill of its young jelly, or claimed its mature fill for your cooking and baking, or simply crushed its crispy yet wet fresh flavour between your teeth?
The coconut gives food, liquid and solid. Its buoyant fibre can take that fruit miles away on the ocean which is usually not far away from the place where it drops from the tree- that is, if the fibre has not been claimed for its cleaning and polishing duties.
Coconut fibre also used to be sleeping mattress material for many island people. Since there’s nothing synthetic about it, the fibre can be thoroughly washed and re-used, staying clean as the dishes or floors for which coconut fibre is also a biodegradable scourer.
Coconut fibre is ideal for gardening. Orchids, anthuriums and flora that have a velamen and let their roots drink from the atmosphere rather than from the soil- these grow well in this natural well aerated fibre. And your coconut with fibre is also a pretty orchid container. See mine here.
The coconut shell itself is wooden, good fuel for a cook’s fire. We used this for its pure, smoke-free, snoot-free flames that were harmless to stainless steel. Talk about fuel efficiency!
Coconut oil. You probably know that one. Pity the soya industry did a number on the coconut industry in my birth country Dominica, the Nature Isle. Many of our people made a living from growing and harvesting these nuts which were burnt to copra from which the oil was extracted.
Oh I must tell you, copra is as tasty as fresh coconut itself. We ate little junk because we had so many nuts (among nature’s many other treats). But somebody said that coconut oil had too much cholesterol and they stopped buying our produce. This meant that the beautiful soaps we got as a by-product of coconut processing were also under attack.
Of course, today you hear about the health benefits of coconut oil- its beauty boosting effects for the hair and skin on our outsides and its nutritional value for our insides.
In some places that I call home, coconut trees grow in abundance and give more fruit than one can consume- fruit for eating and drinking, fruit for housecleaning jobs, for beauty needs, for gardening- orchids and anthuriums, for whatever coconuts can give and do.
And I haven’t mentioned the craftmanship (and craft-woman-ship) of those who make jewels from the shells and fruit and all that the coconut trees give. My favourite drum is a part of a hollowed coconut tree trunk covered with goat’s skin. I made potpourri holders in the feature photo – trademarked “Nuts about Montserrat” because that’s where these nuts came from.