The Coconut Tree (Cocos Nucifera L.) is called "The Tree of Life" because of
the endless list of products and by-products derived from its various parts.
Food, shelter, fuel - name it, the coconut has it.
From coco meat can be obtained coco flour,
desiccated coconut, coconut milk, coconut chips, candies, bukayo or
local sweetened shredded coconut meat, latik copra and animal feeds.
Coco chips, which are curved and wrinkled coconut
meat, is crisply toasted and salted. It is very popular in Hawaii.
Coconut flour can be used as a wheat extender in
baking certain products without affecting their appearance or acceptability.
The coconut milk is a good protein source. Whole
coco milk contains about 22% oil, which accounts for its laxative property.
Copra is dried coconut meat that has a high oil
content, as much as 64%. Coconut oil is the most readily digested of all the
fats of general use in the world. The oil furnishes about 9,500 calories of
energy per kilogram. Its chief competitors are soya bean oil, palm oil and
palm kernel oil.
Coconut oil retards aging. It counteracts heart,
colon, pancreatic and liver tumor inducers. And it is easy to digest.
In the detergent industry, coconut oil is very
important. Its most outstanding characteristic is its high saponification
value in view of the molecular weight of most of the fatty acid glycerides
An advantageous utilization of the coconut oil as
a detergent was discovered in a May 1951 study wherein a formulation using
coconut oil was found to be an effective sanitizer.
Other products from coco oil are soap, lard, coco
chemicals, crude oil, pomade, shampoo, margarine, butter and cooking oil.
Cocnut leaves produce good quality paper pulp,
midrib brooms, hats and mats, fruit trays, waste baskets, fans, beautiful
midrib decors, lamp shades, placemats, bags and utility roof materials.
The coconut fruit produces buko, often used
for salads, halo-halo( crushed ice with sweetened fruit), sweets and
pastries. Buko is of three kinds: mala-kanin, or having the
consistency of boiled rice; mala-uhog, mucus-like consistency and
ready for eating; and mala-katad, or like leather. The last kind is
the one used for making sweets.
A mature coconut, or niyog is used in
making sweets and special Filipino dishes.
The "sport fruit" of the coconut is the
makapuno. Considered a delightful delicacy and largely used for making
preserves and ice-cream, it cannot be kept in storage and will not
germinate. It has three layers: semi-acid, soft and hard meat.
Coconut water is also called liquid endosperm. It
is thrown away during copra making and becomes a great waste. Uses of
coconut water include: coconut water vinegar; coconut wine; production of
the chewy, fiber-rich nata good as a dessert and as alaxative; as a
growth factor; and as a substitute for dextrose.
Another breakthrough use is in coconut water
theraphy to cure renal disorders. "Bukolysis", as it is also called, is the
medical process of reducing or dissolving urinary stones of the urinary
tract systems using buko water from 7 to 9 months old coconuts.
Bukolysis is the brainchild of Dr. Eufemio Macalalag Jr., a urologist. For
preventive medication, water from one mature coconut consumed daily, could
almost guarantee that the formation of stones in the urinary tract will be
avoided. To those already afflicted, the coconut water theraphy has been
proven to be an inexpensive and effective cure. Coconut water is commonly
promoted as an economical thirst quencher, hunger satisfier and medical cure
for renal disorders all in one.
Using coconut water, a nata de coco-like
growth produced after 14 days which, when cooked in syrup, is apopular
dessert. When mixed with other ingredients, like the making of fruit salad,
it will enhance the flavor of the dish. And whoever said that nata de
coco is just for food was wrong. This nata-like growth is dextran
and can be made to comply with the specifications for clinical dextran,
then we have in the coconut water an important contribution in the atomic
defense against radiation sickness.
Coconut husks are made of bristle fiber (10%),
mattress fiber (20%) and coir dust and shorts or wastes (70%).
The abundance of fiber nakes it good, stable
supply for cottage industries that make brushes, doormats, carpets, bags,
ropes, yarn fishing nets, and mattresses, etc.
Coir fiber can also be used as substitute for jute
in making rice, copra, sugar, coffee, bags and sandbags. It is also suitable
for making pulp and paper, etc. For the first time, the Philippines can
export coir fiber to Japan, Germany and the United States with the proper
assistance extended by the government, the industry being new.
The well board is manufactured from coir dust and
short fibers. No binding materials are needed as lignin is inherent in the
coconut husk. Also it is termite-proof because creosote is present in the
new material. The board produced is as good as narra, plywood or masonite.
Coir yarn, coir rope, bags, rugs, husk decor, husk
polishes, mannequin wig, brush, coirflex, and fishnets are other products
that can be obtained from coco husk. Out of coir dust can be obtined coco
gas, lye insulator, insoflex and plastic materials.
Out of its pith can be produced coco pickles,
guinatan and lumpia. Its guinit can produce helmets, caps,
wooden shoe straps, handbags, fans, picture and house decor like lamp shades
and guinit flowers for the table.
Ever heard of the "Millionaire's Salad"? It's fit
for any ordinary man though, it is made up of "palmetto cabbage" which, when
translated properly, is simply the local ubod or the "heart" of the
coconut. Actually, ubod is considered one of the finest vegetables in
the Philippines. It can be served in many appetizing ways. Cubed in fairly
large bits, it makes wonderful addition to Spanish rice, or in their long
strips, to Arroz a la Cubana. As a salad, it is mixed with mayonnaise or
thousand island dressing and heaped onto lettuce leaves, red pepper, chopped
spring onions, paprika, or a combination of some of those may be used to
garnish this all-white salad. Crab meat with ubod in lumpia can prove
to be very delicious.
Infloresence (Flower Blossoms)
Out of the bud of the coconut tree's infloresence
is a juice called coconut toddy or tuba. The fermented juice is the
common alcoholic drink in the coconut region. The fermented tuba
would be a good drink even to those who enjoy the finer things. The
principal uses of the toddy are: as fresh beverage; for producing alcoholic
beverages; for producing vinegar; for making sugar; and as a source of yeast
for making bread.
Coconut toddy, after being left for five days then
distilled, produces an alcoholic spirit known locally as lambanog
which is more or less 98% proof. In its taste, sweet toddy is a liquid
containing essentially 12 to 18% sugar (sucrose).
Other products from the coconut tree's
infloresence are gin, vinegar, candy trays, Christmas and wall decor.
Coconut shell produces the core of the most
saleable household products and fashion accessories that can be turned into
lucrative, wide-selling cottage industries. Among them are shell necklaces,
shell bags, cigarette boxes, shell ladles, buttons, lamp shades, fruit and
ash trays, guitars, placemats, coffee pots, cups, wind chimes, "coco banks",
briquetted charcoal and activated carbon.
The most important use of coconut shell is
activated carbon produced from its charcoal. It is utilized in air
purification systems such as cooker hoods, air conditioning, industrial gas
purification systems, and industrial and gas masks.
Coconut Trunk & Roots
Out of the coconut trunk, hardy and durable wood
is obtained to make benches, tables, carvings, picture frames, tables, tool
boxes, and construction materials, among many others. Paper pulp can also be
extracted from the coconut trunk and other woody parts of the tree. Among
the woody parts of the tree, the trunk gives the highest pulp yield of 43%;
the midribs, 41%, and the petiole or the slender stop that support the leaf,
32%. Tests also show that coconut coir (80%) and abaca bleached sulfate pulp
(40%) are a good combination in the production of offset bookpaper.
Medicine, beverages and dyestuff are obtained from
the coconut roots.
Philippine Coconut Authority