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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Coconut (Cocos nucifera)

A coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is the sole member of the genus Cocos tribe Arecaceae (Palm family). This tree produces fruit that has same name: Coconut. This tree spread throughout tropical and sub tropical area, and the plant is believed to come from the Indian Ocean coast on the Asian side.

This plant is used almost all the parts by humans, so it is considered as a multipurpose plant, especially for coastal communities. Palm tree leaves used for various purposes, such as for firewood after the first dried. Old coconut trunks are made of building materials and furniture materials. Young coconuts enjoyed as fresh fruit, with natural sweet water, can also be used as part of a range of quality food dish. Her pieces are being widely used as a source of cooking oil, in Southeast Asia the old juice called coconut milk is an important ingredient in their traditional cuisine. 

Coconut flower, tapped to take water called sap. This juice is an ingredient for making coconut sugar (palm sugar). While the water of coconut fruit can be processed to be fermentation food named Nata de Coco

Coconut plants grow well at temperatures between 27-28 C. At temperatures below 20 C and above 30 C is not good coconut plant growth and fruit into small pieces.

Characteristic of the tree:

a. The trunks.
Singular palm tree trunks, rarely branched, round grayish green, and rough. Tall palm tree can vary depending on variety and growing conditions of the location of where. This tree usually grows upright, when grown on the coast or on the riverbanks, palm trees will be leaning towards the water, this is a natural way for the spread of the tree. Coconuts that fall will carry over the water so that it will spread to various parts according of the direction of the water or waves.

Colors of the inside of the stem are brown when young and turn into a dark brown-black when older. Old tree trunks are good enough to be used as building materials or furniture, if it has an old wooden palm trees will be very hard.

Tall coconut trees can reach almost 40 m, but once again it all depends on the varieties of palm trees and the condition of where the tree grew up.

b. The Leaves.
Palm leaves and invertebrates elongated parallel and grew faster during the rainy season. Light green when young and then changed to dark green when old. Strands of elongated leaves with leaves about 4-5 cm wide, has small leaves bones elongated form of sticks and colored yellow. Long leaves can reach 1 meter or more.

c. The Roots.
Unlike some other plants, the palm tree has neither a tap root nor hairs root, but has a fibrous root system, thick and woody, clustered to form tubers, adaptive on the sandy beach area. Jointed stems but if the old is not too visible, typical monocot type with vascular spread (not concentric), woody.

d. The flowers.
Flowers arranged in a series of compound protected by bractea; There are male and female flowers, monoecious, located at the base of the female flower bouquets, while the male flowers in distant parts of the base.

e. The fruit.
Coconut trees begin to produce fruit at the age of 3-4 years. After fertilized, the female flowers begin to grow into pieces approximately 3-4 weeks after mayang open. Fruit reaches maximum size at age 9-10 months.

Coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. Like the other fruits, it has three layers: exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The exocarp and mesocarp form a "skin" of the coconut. Mesocarp is composed of fibers, called coir, which have many traditional and commercial uses. Shell has three germination pores (stoma) or "eye" is clearly visible on the outside surface once the husk is removed. 

Outer shell of coconuts can be colored green, yellow, ivory, and even red depending on variety, but everything will be whitish gray when really old and the outer skin becoming dry.

Traditionally which has the highest economic value is flesh, coconut meat is the main raw material for making coconut oil. Efforts to preservation coconut meat usually by drying and then called as copra (dried coconut).

But now began to find ways to take advantage of a variety of coconut juice drinks and high-value food ingredients, one of which is processing the coconut water into a kind of food called Nata de Coco.

Nutrients composition:

a. Coconut-inner edible solid part, raw (fresh kopra)
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy354 kcal (1,480 kJ)
- Sugars6.23g
- Dietary fiber9g
Protein3.33 g
Thiamine (vit. B1)0.066 mg 6%
Riboflavin (vit. B2)0.02 mg 2%
Niacin (vit. B3)0.54 mg 4%
Pantothenic acid (B5)1.014 mg20%
Vitamin B60.05 mg4%
Vitamin C3.3 mg4%
Calcium14 mg 1%
Iron2.43 mg19%
Magnesium32 mg 9%
Phosphorus113 mg 16%
Potassium356 mg 8%
Zinc1.1 mg 12%
Source: USDA database

b. Coconut Water
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy19 kcal (79 kJ)
- Sugars2.61g
- Dietary fiber1.1g
Thiamine (vit. B1)0.03 mg 3%
Riboflavin (vit. B2)0.057 mg 5%
Niacin (vit. B3)0.08 mg 1%
Vitamin B60.032 mg2%
Vitamin C2.4 mg3%
Calcium24 mg 2%
Iron0.29 mg2%
Magnesium25 mg 7%
Phosphorus20 mg 3%
Potassium250 mg 5%
Zinc0.1 mg 1%

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO):
Virgin coconut oil is coconut oil made from fresh coconut raw materials, processed with controlled heating or without heating at all, without chemicals and in addition, it was bleaching and hydrogenation process to produce pure oil.

Refining coconut oil as above resulted in the content of essential compounds that the human body needs to remain intact. Pure coconut oil with the main content of lauric acid has antibiotic properties, anti-bacterial and fungal.

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO), is a modification of the process of making coconut oil to produce products with moisture content and free fatty acid levels are low, translucent color, smell nice, and has a long shelf life of more than 12 months.

When compared with ordinary coconut oil, or often referred to as cooking oil (coconut oil copra), virgin coconut oil has a better quality. Copra coconut oil will be brownish yellow, smells fragrant, and easy to rancidity, so the shelf does not last long (less than two months). From an economic perspective, virgin coconut oil has a higher selling price than copra coconut oil.

Philippines, Indonesia, India, Brazil and Sri Lanka are consecutive top five producers of coconuts in the world.

Scientific classification:

  • Division: Spermatophyta
  • Sub Division: Angiospermae
  • Class: Monocotyledoneae
  • Nation: Palmales
  • Ethnicity: Palmae
  • Genus: Cocos
  • Species: Cocos nucifera