Magical History from the Sri Lankan Tree of Life (Part 2)
By Chris Waage,
Magical History from the Sri Lankan Tree of Life (Part 2)

Let’s take a closer look at the useful components of a coconut tree.


1. The coconut’s meat - another term would be the flesh/kernel
2. The coconut’s water
3. The shell of the coconut
4. The outside layer of the coconut, which is called the husk of the coconut
5. The flower of the coconut
6. The branches of the coconut tree
7. The actual trunk of the coconut tree


After reading the in-depth description of how each part is quite beneficial to us all, you will be astounded by the uses of this unique tree – the ‘Tree of Life’.


Coconut Meat – Flesh – Kernel


The major product of the coconut tree, which contains the flesh of the coconut, are coconut fruits. They are the ‘crown jewel’ of the trees, the delicious fruits that cling to the coconut stems in clusters. The coconut's kernel is a solid white substance that is quite high in fat. In order to be digested, the coconut flesh must be scraped from its shell.


The result?


Coconut flakes - that are used in anything from delicious meals to succulent desserts. So, after the coconut flesh has been removed from the shell, the flakes can then be chopped up and/or squeezed to make coconut milk or coconut oil.


For those of you that like to limit your butter intake, coconut oil is a perfect substitute to be used in your favorite recipes.


Aside from coconut oil being a healthy component of many tropical dishes, the oil from coconuts is used to treat various skin conditions; like rashes. Additionally, coconut oil contributes to healthy, radiant skin and can be found in a vast array of beauty products that you probably are already using!


In Sri Lanka, coconut milk is a healthy cooking component that is also a ‘must have’ of many delectable ethnic foods which are traditionally prepared during very special times of the year, like local ceremonies for example. In addition, it is quite common to find coconut milk (as most know it) or cream, in the form of a liquid and/or powder sitting on the super market shelves as a canned product. Of course, the shelf life various from the way in which the manufacture has packaged the coconut product, however most can be stored for a decent amount of time of up to several months.


It’s worth noting, around the world, dried coconut is used in a variety of mouthwatering dishes. They are obviously much less dry than fresh coconut flakes because they have been dehydrated. It may seem odd for Westerners, but in Sri Lanka, every home has a coconut scraper for scraping coconuts, as most Westerners have a toaster to get their breads nice and crunchy! In general, you find these scrapers the ‘old-school’ way, in manual form, however with technology accelerating at light speeds, the new generation like to do things a bit faster – it's that instant gratification we have all come accustomed to. However, for you purists, ‘Hiramanaya’ is the term for the traditional coconut scraper.


To be continued…


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