The coconut (La noix de coco)
Today’s blog post is dedicated to the coconut which is very famous in Guadeloupe Archipelago due to its significant versatility. Coconut trees are everywhere and are part of the scenery in the Archipelago, the population enjoy them for the shade they are providing when facing heat wave. The coconut fruit is also a major ingredient in the culinary heritage especially for desserts and sweet snacks. The leaves are used to create nice hand-crafted objects such as hats, fruits baskets etc…
The coconut tree also known as “Cocos nucifera” is a large palm and can reach up to 30 metres tall. The trunk is quite thin and can be up to 45 centimetres in diameter. Right on the top, you will find about twenty green pinnate leaves that are quite long between 4 to 6 metres, they are used for carpentry, joinery, paint, tapestry and basketwork. Coconut palms produce their first fruits after five to ten years; the fruit grows in clusters of 10 to 25. Wild coconut palms reach peak production after fifteen to twenty years and produce up to 100 fruits per year. The coconut fruit is 20 to 25 centimetres long, weigh generally between 1 to 2 kilograms and is a drupe that has three layers: the Exocarp, Mesocarp, and Endocarp. The Exocarp which is the outer layer is typically smooth with a greenish colour. The fleshy middle layer is the fibrous husk called Mesocarp. Finally the endocarp is the hard woody layer that surrounds the seed. The crisp, white “meat” inside the coconut is what nourishes the coconut seed.
As said previously the coconut is extremely versatile. Coconut meat is used fresh or dried in cooking. Coconut water which is the liquid inside fresh coconuts contains sugar, dietary fiber, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, making it an excellent substitute for “straight water. Coconut milk is a common ingredient in many tropical cuisines. It can also be consumed raw by itself, or used as a milk substitute by vegans or people allergic to animal milk. Nowadays, coconut oil is widely used as part of a healthier diet. In Guadeloupe Archipelago, the coconut is accessible all year long making it an excellent ingredient to make coconut flour, coconut jam and various local patisseries and confectioneries such as coconut cakes or coconut pies. It is very common to drink the coconut water directly from the fruit with a straw. The coconut sorbet is also very trendy when going to the beach or outdoor events such as the carnival as it is refreshing.
Nutrient content and Health benefits
The coconut fruit is very nutritious and possesses a large amount of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc and vitamin B. The fruit is also full of fibre.
Don’t hesitate to try any coconut-based food or drink when visiting Guadeloupe Archipelago as they are quite accessible. Furthermore, you will definitely be impressed with the creativity of artists that are designing beautiful and original hand-crafted objects.