Coconuts are rich in nutrients and minerals, and are a choice food that keeps for a long time without deteriorating. They are almost unbreakable and filled with sugary, fresh, and sterile water.
· Fresh coconuts contain a very wholesome food. The immature kernel is a water- and sugar-rich gel that develops inside the nut eight to nine months after fertilization.
· Ripe coconuts, a year after fertilization, are often the only source of vegetable fat for tropical populations.
· Coconut water, which is rich in minerals and sugars, is clear, fresh and sterile. In some regions, it is a supplementary source of drinking water.
· Ripe kernels are eaten either fresh or processed: desiccated coconut, powdered coconut, or coconut flour.
· Coconut milk is made by grinding the mature kernel finely, adding water, and pressing the mixture. It can be concentrated to make coconut cream – the basis for other preparations; such as coconut jam, coconut syrup, or coconut honey.
· Palm cabbages or palm hearts are very popular. They can be added fresh to salads and cooked.
· Coconut sap is extracted by cutting the inflorescences. It is a refreshing and nutritious drink that is rich in sugar. If left in the open, the sap ferments within a few hours to make a slightly alcoholic palm wine. A stronger spirit can also be made by distilling palm wine.