Coconut

Coco . Edible fruit , obtained from the coconut tree , the most cultivated palm worldwide. It has a thick and fibrous outer shell and a hard, fluffy and brown inner shell that has attached the pulp, which is white and aromatic. It measures 20 to 30 cm and weighs 2.5 kg. The name comes from the Age of Discovery, for the Portuguese explorers who brought it to Europe the brown, shaggy surface reminded them of the stories about Coco that are told in Spain and Portugal. to young children to scare them.

Summary

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  • 1 Origin
  • 2 Systematics
  • 3 Features
  • 4 edaphoclimatic requirements
  • 5 Plantation
    • 1 Plantation framework
    • 2 Planting distance
  • 6 Cultural services
    • 1 Entrapment
    • 2 Replanting
    • 3 Transplant
    • 4 Fertilization
    • 5 Irrigation
    • 6 Nutrition
    • 7 Weed control
  • 7 Types of coconut trees
  • 8 Harvest
  • 9 Nutritional properties
    • 1 Coconut Proteins and Vitamins
  • 10 uses
    • 1 Medicinal uses
    • 2 Use as fuel
    • 3 Artisan use
    • 4 Use in the kitchen
    • 5 Cosmetic use
  • 11 Food
  • 12 Sources

Origin

The place of origin of the Coconut palm is a debated topic, while many consider that it comes from South Asia , specifically from the Ganges delta, some say that it comes from the northwest of South America . New Zealand fossil records indicate that similar smaller plants grew there at least 15 million years ago.

There are also older fossils discovered in Kerala, Rajasthan , Thennai in Tamil Nadu on the banks of the Palar, Then-pennai, Thamirabharani, Kaveri River and slopes on the border of Kerala, Konaseema-Andharapradesh , Maharashtra (all in India ) although the oldest known come from Khulna in Bangladesh.

Systematic

Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Liliatae

Order: Arecales

Family: Arecaceae (Palmae)

Genre: Coconuts

Species: Cocos nucifera

Features

Trunk . It is a single-stem, often sloping, monoecious palm , 10-20 meters high and 50 centimeters thick at the base and tapering towards the top. At the apex it presents a group of leaves that protect the only point of growth or terminal bud that the plant possesses. As the trunk does not have meristematic tissue, it does not thicken, however variations in the availability of water induce changes in the diameter of the trunk. Height growth depends on ecological conditions, the age of the plant and the type of coconut tree.

Leaves . They are pinnate, 1.5-4 meters long, with leathery leaflets 50-70 centimeters long, yellowish green. Under favorable environmental conditions, a giant-growing adult plant emits between 12 to 14 leaves per year, while the dwarf can emit up to 18 leaves in the same period. The crown is not very wide and consists of up to 30 arched leaves

Flowers . It has paniculate inflorescences that are born in the axils of the lower leaves, protected by a bract called a spathe of up to 70 centimeters in length and it develops in 3 or 4 months. The flowering season is from November to March and the fruits take up to 13 months to mature.

Pollination . It can be anemophilous or entomophilic. In giant coconut trees, the male flowers open before the female flowers are receptive, which contributes to cross-pollination. In the case of dwarf coconut trees, it is simultaneous, therefore there is a high percentage of selfing.

Fruit. It is a drupe, covered with fibers, 20-30 centimeters long with an ovoidal shape, and can weigh up to 2.5 kilograms. It is formed by a yellowish, leathery and fibrous external shell (exocarp) 4 or 5 centimeters thick, with the shape of hairs strongly attached to the walnut; a fine intermediate layer (mesocarp) and a harder one (endocarp) that has three nearby holes in a triangular arrangement, located at the apex, two closed and the other in front of the embryo root. It is vulnerable to a little pressure and where the water can spill before breaking the shell of the fruit, and is where the seed is found.

Roots . The root system is fasciculated. The primary roots are in charge of fixing the plant and absorbing water. The tertiary roots derive from the secondary ones, and are the true nutrient extractors. The active roots are located within a radius of two meters from the trunk, at a depth of between 0.2 to 0.8 meters, depending on the effective depth.

Propagation . The fresh coconuts of the plant are half-buried with the shells in moist soil. If a constant humidity is maintained, they begin to sprout in two or three months, their growth being rather slow at first until after the palm matures. Due to their strong spines since germination, animals do not feed on seedlings.

Edaphoclimatic requirements

Temperature . It requires a warm climate, without great variations in temperature. The average daily temperature should be around 27ºC with variations from 7 to 5ºC.

Relative humidity . Hot and humid climates are the most favorable for the cultivation of coconut palm. A relative humidity of less than 60% is detrimental to the coconut tree. If the water table is shallow (1-4 meters) or when irrigation is guaranteed, increased perspiration, caused by low atmospheric humidity, induces an increase in the absorption of water , and therefore of nutrients by the roots .

Precipitation . The average annual rainfall regime is 1500mm, with a monthly rainfall greater than 130mm. Three month periods with less than 50mm are detrimental to the crop.

Light intensity . It is a heliophyte plant, therefore it does not admit shading. An insolation of 2000 hours per year with a minimum of 120 hours per month is considered ideal for cultivation.

Wind . The light or moderate winds favor the cultivation, however the strong winds in periods of drought increase the dry conditions of the soil and the transpiration of the plant, generating a detrimental water deficit. Hurricane force winds are limiting, mainly for dwarf type coconut trees, since they have less resistance in their trunk and roots.

Soil . The soils suitable for coconut cultivation are soils with light textures (from loamy to sandy), alluvial, deep (more than one meter), with a surface water table one to two meters deep. The soils of the coastal plain are those with these characteristics. When the soil moisture is managed with irrigation, cultivation can be done on clayey and loamy soils. The coconut tree adapts very well to soils where the water table is saline. Due to its high demand for chlorine, the existence of brackish water is even beneficial, which is why it is one of the few crops that can be seen on or near the beaches.

Plantation

In our country it can be planted throughout the year, depending on the water possibilities available; plantations in Cuba are generally rainfed, so it is necessary to plant (sow) in the rainy season. The dimensions of the holes range from 60 x .60 x .60 cm to 30 x 30 x .30 cm depending on the soil conditions.

Plantation frame

The density of the plantation depends on the type of soil, the topography, the variety, the availability of water, the technology to be used and the objectives of the plantation.

Planting distance

Density (plants / ha) 7x7m to 5.5×5.5m from 204- 330 8x8m to 6.7×6.7m from 156-222 9x9m to 7.9×7.9m from 123-160

When sowing, it is necessary to prune the roots to avoid drying out and force the development of a wide root system. Flush the walnut. The posture will be placed in the hole, to which bottom fertilizer and organic matter are applied; it will be properly rammed and will be about 3cm above the neck.

Cultural entertainment

Wrapping

Once the sowing is done, a wrap with grass or other inert material will be applied in a circular way around the trunk of the tree with a diameter of 1.20 and separated by about 10 cm, the thickness should be about 12-15 cm.

Replanting

It is a task that is done a short time after sowing and should be done as soon as dead positions are noticed.

Transplant

Once the planting hole is ready, the template is transplanted or planted definitively. The first step is to measure the depth to which the template will be seeded, for this, two inches of the plant neck are taken as a reference. The depth will depend on the age of the plant, the older it is the deeper it must be planted. Then, the hole is partially filled to the depth of planting. Then, the plant is aligned with the furrow and the hole is completely filled. Among the care that must be taken during planting are: always compacting the soil used to fill the hole, to avoid air bags that favor root rot; For this same purpose, a channel should be avoided around the hole due to lack of land to fill; further, In places where external drainage is slow or waterlogging occurs, a small mound should form around the stem; Another important measure is weed control within a radius of not less than one meter during planting.

Fertilization

The fertilization of the coconut crop is determined by the production level, the age of the plant, the content and availability of nutrients in the soil, the type of coconut tree, the planting density, the type of irrigation, and the source of available fertilizer. the market. In the case of new plantations, to determine the amount of fertilizer per plant, the first step is soil sampling and analysis. When the crop is developed, the soil analysis is completed with foliar analyzes to determine deficiency of especially minor elements. The fertilizer application time is also variable. When the crop is managed under dry conditions, in sandy or coarse textured soils, nitrogen must be applied in three fractions during the rainy season.

Irrigation

Commercial plantations should be planted in areas with good rainfall or otherwise with water near the subsoil, but for plantations under 3 years of age it is necessary to guarantee water during the dry season.

Nutrition

Potassium constitutes the essential element for the coconut tree, followed by nitrogen in order and phosphorus to a lesser extent. Fertilization will be applied in a circular way in the drip area (0.5-2.0 m) and separated about 10 cm from the trunk should be buried to avoid losses due to evaporation and drag. The nutrient application program will be as follows:

Weed control

Weed control in the rings can be maintained with a machete, hoe or herbicides (avoiding phytocracy damage to plants). Chemical control, in addition to being effective, reduces the workforce and prevents possible damage to the root system and the soil, for this the following products are recommended with efficient results:

The streets can be maintained with manual or mechanized veneers. The coconut tree can be associated with Cacao , Pineapple , Banana , Cassava , Sweet Potato , Coffee , Yam . Associated crops must be at least 2 m apart from the trunk.

Types of coconut trees

Its own tropical and subtropical islands of the Pacific Ocean, its cultivation has spread throughout Central America , the Caribbean and tropical Africa . The types of coconut trees are classified into giants, dwarfs and hybrids and, within each group, there are a large number of varieties.

Coconut plant

Giants : they are used for the production of oil and the fruits for fresh consumption. Its water content is high and it is not sweet. Among its advantages, the size of the fruit and the high content of copra stand out. The most cultivated giant varieties are: Malaysian Giant (GML), Renell’s Giant (GRL) from Tahiti , West African Giant (GOA) from Ivory Coast , Alto de Jamaica , Alto de Panamá, Ceylon Indian , Alta Java , Laguna , Alto de Sudan , etc. Dwarfs: the most cultivated varieties are Yellow from Malaysia, Green from Brazil fromRio Grande do Norte , Indian Dwarf Orange .

Due to the good taste of the water and the small size of these coconuts, they are mainly used for the production of packaged beverages. Copra is of poor quality.

Hybrids: product of the cross between the previous varieties. They are fruits of medium or large size, good flavor and good copra yield. The most cultivated hybrid is MAPAN VIC 14; a cross between Dwarf from Malaysia and Alto from Panama and Colombia , specifically sabaneta.

Harvest

The coconut harvest varies according to the type of production, especially from February to July. If it is marketed as fresh fruit or destined for the industry for the purpose of bottling water, the harvest takes place when the coconut is between 5 and 7 months old. At this time the sugar and water content is very high and the flavor is more intense. In any case, it is dry coconut or mature coconut has a greater long-lasting capacity without the need for any type of refrigeration, unlike fresh coconuts, which last several days (or a month), before maturing (or becoming dry) .

If it is intended for the production of grated, dehydrated or copra coconut for oil extraction, the harvest is done when the coconuts fall to the ground or when one of the coconuts in a bunch is dry. Grated coconut is used as a topping or ingredient for cakes or pies. These dried coconuts remain on the plant for 12 months.

Nutritional properties

The composition of the coconut varies as it matures. Fat is the main component after water and is rich in saturated fatty acids, making its caloric value the highest of all fruits. It provides a low amount of carbohydrates and even less protein. Likewise, coconut is rich in mineral salts that participate in the mineralization of bones such as Magnesium , Phosphorus , Calcium and Potassium .

The “excessive” consumption of foods rich in saturated fats causes an increase in blood cholesterol levels (hypercholesterolemia). However, coconut is a fruit that in most Ibero-American countries is consumed in very small quantities and on rare occasions, so that its consumption in fresh does not pose any health problem, moreover, it enriches our diet with nutritional substances. , flavors, aromas and a large number of dishes from our gastronomy.

Fiber prevents or improves constipation, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and good glycemic control (blood sugar levels) in people with diabetes. Due to its high energy value, people who are overweight should moderate their consumption and due to their high potassium supply, it is not recommended for those who have kidney failure and require a controlled diet in this mineral.

Coconut water is the liquid that is inside the pulp; The less ripe the fruit, the more abundant it will be and also richer in nutrients. It is considered a natural isotonic drink, being highly appreciated in tropical countries where it is taken by extracting it directly from the fruit.

Coconut proteins and vitamins

Coconut is a neutral fruit), it contains water , proteins , fibers, sugars, vitamins A, B, B1, B2, E, PP and C, calcium, phosphorous , potassium , sodium , magnesium , sulfur , chlorine , silicon , barium . It should not be consumed with dairy, since its fats are different, nor can it be mixed with eggs.

Applications

The coconut has various uses, which; they can be used at any time of life. How the plant and its fruits are edible

Medical uses

The healing effects of coconut are mainly due to the magnesium content. Some researchers have concluded that it is essential for the defense against the cancerous alterations of cells.
The pulp and coconut milk on an empty stomach causes the expulsion of certain types of tapeworms. Coconut contains substances that destroy free radicals. Due to its calcium and phosphorous richness, it fortifies the skin, nails, teeth and nervous tissues. It is a nutritious and energetic element. It is a good substitute for eggs and milk.
To deworm children and adults, especially with amoebas, half a glass of coconut milk is mixed with half a glass of pineapple juice and is eaten as breakfast at nine in the morning, taking care not to consume another food for two hours.
Coconut water contains protein, carbohydrate and fats, iron, calcium, silicon, phosphorus, magnesium, chlorine, potassium, sulfur and phosphorous substances, vitamins B, It is very good for all bladder diseases.
Coconut milk is good for atherosclerosis, 75 g of ground coconut is placed for 300 ml of hot water, it is moved and allowed to cool. Once cold, strain and squeeze. It is good for people with poor memories.
Coconut oil can be used for hair for conditioning purposes. If weight loss has been a constant problem, then start using coconut oil in your meals. This oil contributes to weight loss by keeping you satiated as well as energy. Research has also shown that coconut oil can help eradicate bacterial skin infections.

Use as fuel

The shell as fuel or as an element of decoration and rustic tableware. Its water is an incomparable soft drink. Its dried and ground meat is used to make soaps and cosmetics and from it an oil of great commercial value is extracted.

Artisan use

With the leaves and roots of the coconut tree they are made from baskets, oars, poles. decorations, hats among others.

Use in the kitchen

Coconut flan

The pulp and milk of the coconut are not only an important element in pastry, but an essential ingredient in stews, especially in fish dishes of millions of natives of the tropics, both from the East and the West.
In gastronomy, grated coconut has been used for many years to decorate foods such as

alfajores or tortas, but coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut liquor or pulp are being used for both sweet and salty foods ( ice cream , soups , sauces , puddings , fish , seafood , cakes , puddings , etc). Thus, globalized cuisine opened restaurants with Thai, Indonesian, Indian and Vietnamese cuisine, and the use of coconut became popular.
A novel way to use coconut is to cut unpeeled coconut slices with a potato peeler and decorate cakes. On fruit salads, desserts, ice cream or just to decorate fountains.

Cosmetic use

Coconut oil is rich to hydrate and soften the skin. You can apply a little coconut oil to your body for massage or in the hot tub to absorb its natural oils. To remove dandruff, heat the coconut oil and apply to the scalp and hair before shampooing hair. Also, coconut oil can be used as a conditioner after the hair has been shampooed using a conditioning cap overnight or sitting under a blow dryer using a plastic cap for 30 minutes.

Feeding

Peeled coconuts

It should be characteristically aromatic like melon, although less strong than it. If you do not hear the typical splash of water inside when shaking it, it is because the coconut is more than dry, past ripe or dry, not very useful, just perhaps as a coconut seed. In these conditions, the pulp is usually rancid. The coconut is preserved for two months. After opening, it must be consumed on the same day or stored in a container covered with water, no more than five days. The grated coconut is kept for two days in a closed plastic bag.

The water coconut consumed as a refreshing drink bottled, the largest amount is obtained when the fruit to ripen lack the time and has more nutrients. In tropical countries it is considered a natural isotonic drink and is taken directly from the fruit. It is also used in the preparation of dishes such as stews, fish sauces, ice cream, etc.

The fruit is consumed as fresh fruit, the striped coconut is used in pastry and pastry making ice cream, cakes, pies, etc., also in some countries it is used to bread various foods such as fish or meat.

Coconut oil is obtained from the sun- dried pulp , it is used as food and also for the preparation of cosmetic and body products. The outer rind of the coconut is used to make fabrics or ropes, the middle rind is used to make glasses or cups.

 

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