At the mall this past weekend, I bought a neat windchime . . . made from a coconut! When the disk in the center of the hollowed-out chimes bangs around in the wind, it puts out this deep, reedy sound that makes me think of white sand and a Caribbean beach. (And I’ve never before set foot outside the U.S.) While admiring my unique find, the cogs in my mind began turning the wheels of my brain, and I wondered:
Is the coconut a fruit or a nut?
And that’s where my research began. Soon, my kitchen table was covered with encyclopedias, thesauruses, dictionaries, pens, and a notebook. (Yes, I still use my handy-dandy encyclopedias, even though the internet makes searching faster. There’s just something about looking for information in a physical book, with pages to be turned . . . But that is another topic altogether.)
According to two different encyclopedias and tipsofallsorts.com, the coconut is a fruit. Ehow.com claims it is a nut. Other sources say it’s neither and is, in fact, a seed. I suppose the debate shall continue . . .
Whether it’s a fruit, nut, or seed, the coconut grows on one of the most useful of the palm trees, called the coconut palm. Vinegar, coconut water, and coconut oil are made from these trees. Their wood is used for building, and the leaves for thatching huts. Baskets, hats, brooms, and ropes are created from the leaves, as well. The list of things made from the coconut palm tree is quite lengthy, which came as a surprise to me. You never know what you’re going to learn when you open a book!
Here are a few interesting facts about the coconut you may not have known:
Did you know . . .
. . . if a coconut falls into the sea, it will float?
. . . a good coconut palm may produce 50 coconuts a year?
. . . a well-tended coconut palm can produce twice that?
. . . coconut water is identical to human blood plasma and has been used as a universal donor?
. . . coconut palms may grow to be 30 meters high? That’s over 98 feet tall!
. . . if you burn the husk of a coconut, you are using a mosquito repellent?
. . . more than 20 billion coconuts are harvested each year?
. . . coconuts do not contain cholesterol, as cholesterol is only found in animals?
How do YOU use coconuts? Please CHIME in!