In Sanskrit, it’s called kalpa vriksha, which means “the tree that provides all the necessities of life,” and in Malay, pokok seribu guna describes “the tree of a thousand uses.” In the Philippines, it is called simply “the tree of life.” Valued by cultures throughout the world, the coconut palm is one of the most useful and economically valuable trees because every part can be used to produce a number of products. From the white fleshy piece of the seed utilized in cooking to the outer fibrous husk used for making ropes and mats, more than 10 million families in 90 countries depend on this hearty crop for food and income.
Rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, the coconut is classified as a functional food by dietitians due to its many healthful benefits. A number of ailments can be treated with coconut, including asthma, burns, fever, toothaches and ulcers, and modern medicine confirms its range of cures. Coconut oil, especially, is known as being the healthiest oil on Earth, composed primarily of medium-chain fatty acids recommended by physicians. In fact, the coconut, along with the olive, are the earliest recorded sources of vegetable oil.
To open a coconut, first remove the outer husk, if it has not been removed already. Pierce two of the three eyes, and drain the juice. Coconuts have a natural fracture point and can be opened by hitting them with the flat edge of a heavy knife, or by using a flathead screwdriver and a hammer. Work around the coconut until the crack splits the entire fruit.