Exquisite coconut products from the Philippines...
"the Tree of Life"
In the Philippines the coconut tree is called the “Tree of Life’’, because of the endless products derived from its various parts. They say if you’re stranded on a desert island all you have to do is find a coconut tree and you will survive. In fact, during Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as 'Yolanda') in 2013, affected families survived on coconuts alone for several days.
From leaves to roots, almost all parts of the coconut tree can be used — food, shelter, fuel, decorations, construction and even medicine.
Coconut meat is a good source of protein and an effective natural laxative. It is also a source of other products such as coco flour, desiccated coconut, coco milk, coco chips, candies, latik, copra, and animal feeds. It is also used as a main ingredient for salads and sweet delicacies.
Coconut water is used mostly for re-hydration and kidney cleansing. Other than that, there are still ongoing researches regarding further uses of coconut water.
Nowadays, Coconut oil is more popularly used for its benefits to the skin, hair, and face. It’s extracted from copra and notable for its anti- microbial properties.
Coconut roots can be used as a beverage, dye stuff, and also for medicinal purposes. Coconut trunks can be used for building and construction purposes. From the coconut trunk, handy and durable wood is obtained to make various pieces of furniture and novelty items. Paper pulp can also be extracted from the trunk.
Coconut shell, a part of Coconut fruit, can be used for the production of handicraft items, or as charcoal for cooking, with many more uses besides.
Coconut husk (also a part of Coconut fruit) is also used as an elastic fibre used for making rope, matting, or coarse cloth.
Coconut leaves produce a good quality paper pulp, midrib brooms, hats and mats, fruit trays, fans, midrib decors, lamp shades, bags and utility roof materials. In Cebu City, Coconut leaves are used to wrap white rice called Puso.
Apart from what was already mentioned, other parts of the coconut can be made into slippers, “ubod” brine, building posts, parquet flooring, yeast, insulators, floor husks, doormats and “latik”.
With all of its uses and benefits, it is no wonder that the Coconut is called the Tree of Life!
Source: Quezon City, Philippines (published March 21, 2016)
(written by Mia Caragay, edited by Jay Paul Carlos, additional research by Lovely Ann Cruz. Further edited by Robin Tattersall)
Replenishing the United Kingdom, a sip at a time...
What's inside a coconut?
Not milk, but coconut water. Coconut milk has to be made by boiling the white coconut ‘meat’ with water and straining it. Boil this down further and you get coconut cream.
Coconut is the only plant to produce such a seed liquid. As the coconut grows, the seed inside changes into a sweet, spongy mass called the ‘coconut apple’. From this the young plant shoot emerges out of one of the three holes at the end.
Fresh coconut water is an excellent hangover cure. It is completely sterile, full of vitamins and minerals and has the same balance of salts as human blood (the technical term for this is isotonic).
Because of this it can be used in place of a saline drip and is being commercially exploited as a sports drink, particularly in Brazil, where it is now a $75-million industry. Coconut water also ferments quickly and can be made into wine or vinegar.
Far from being the world’s most dangerously fatty oil, coconut oil is now being marketed as the healthiest. It is rich in lauric acid, the saturated fat found in mother’s milk, and full of anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. It’s also been shown to reduce cholesterol, as it doesn’t enter the bloodstream but travels straight to the liver.
Some less well known uses for the coconut palm: DaimlerChrysler now use the husk (or coir) to make bio-degradable seats for their trucks (springier than plastic foam); the root is liquefied to make mouthwash and a flour made from the shell is used to clean jet engines. The first car body to be made of coconut is already on the drawing board.
The coconut palm has been heralded as the world’s most useful tree for more than 3,000 years. In early Sanskrit texts it was referred to as kalpa vriksha – the tree that fulfils all needs.
You could survive on a desert island by eating and drinking only coconut.
Source: QI: The Book Of General Ignorance, published 2006
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.
By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.
With Fairtrade you have the power to change the world every day. With simple shopping choices you can get farmers a better deal. And that means they can make their own decisions, control their future and lead the dignified life everyone deserves.
How it works
Once harvested, the coconuts are brought to the processing unit. By opening the nuts we recover the coconut water; with coconut meat we obtain milk, cream and coconut oil - the nutritional benefits of which are well established. Farmers are paid a fair price for the nuts they harvest.
Every year, an inspector visits the farms and the processing unit, and checks whether the requirements of Organic and Fairtrade for farmers and factory workers are being respected.
It assesses whether the fair price has been paid and whether the community development project is progressing according to plan; other topics such as health & safety at work, and appropriate levels of fair wage, are also assessed.
The inspector then sends his report to the certification agency, where the report is verified in accordance with the standards of the Fairtrade agency, FairTSA. When it is verified that everything is in order, a Fairtrade certificate is granted and issued.
Coconut House actively supports community development
Development projects funded by La Maison du Coco are planned for local communities. Such projects are part of the Fairtrade business and operational responsibility of "FairTSA".
Support for farmers' professional development projects
Support for community development projects: currently, the creation and maintenance of wells in the Philippines.
(Further edited by Robin Tattersall)