Coconut: a perfect synonym for versatility
It is always present, in some way, in people’s daily lives. In the cuisine, it is used in many ways in various recipes worldwide, in aesthetics it has been gaining global scale, in craftwork it elevates the creative spirit of artists and in landscaping, well… the coconut tree attracts everybody by its natural beauty. Yes, it all comes from the coconut.
There are several explanations for the origin of the coconut tree (Cocos nucifera L.). Some believe that it came from India, others say that it came from Pacific or African islands and there are those who believe that this plant already existed in Central America before the discovering of the New World. What is known for certain is that, in Brazil, coconut was introduced by the Portuguese in Bahia around 1553, with plants coming from the Malay archipelago . From there, it spread all over the Brazilian coast.
COPRA is the name given to the dry coconut pulp, from which the coconut oil is extracted. Copra is defined by the Houaiss Dictionary as the “oleaginous pulp of the almond of coconut, from which, when it is dried and prepared, one can extract oil, glycerin, coconut butter etc.”
The name “copra” is derived from the malayalam word koppara, meaning “dry coconut”.
There is no waste in coconut.
The pulp provides grated coconut and coconut milk, widely used in the food industry to prepare breads, cakes and ice creams. In confectionery and in cuisine they have a guaranteed place. It also generates other products of higher added value, such as coconut oil, which is currently in evidence all over the world, coconut butter, an excellent choice for healthy food, coconut flour, rich in fiber and excellent for food preparations; coconut sugar, extracted in this case from the coconut tree sap, coconut nectar, among others. And still, its green fruit provides coconut water, an excellent way to rehydrate our bodies, mainly restoring potassium loss.
In the cosmetic industry, it stands out more and more as a powerful ingredient, for beauty products, from A to Z.
Its fiber is widely used in fine crafts, residential and automotive carpets, among other applications.
Interesting fact: in the early days of Brazilian radio, the dry coconut opened in the middle, without its pulp, was used to emulate the sound of horse galloping by hitting its two halves.
The coconut is also common in the Brazilian popular songbook. It appears in the verses of several musicians and poets.