Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ode 001: Coconut

Ode 001: Coconut by CaptainShen
I begin The Odes with what I believe to be the single most giving, sustainable, nutrient dense offering of the earth: The Humble Coconut.

The coconut (Hawaiian: "niu"), in all its many forms, is something that I view as being capable of singlehandedly being able to support the lives of other creatures. We can take from it water, food, fuel, and protection. We can build from its shell-- tools, weapons, and drinking vessels. Its fibery husk ('aha) provides kindling, filtration, nets, cords, and ropes; the palm's fronds can be woven into mats, tied into brooms, or used with kukui nuts to make candles. The trunk can be built into musical instruments, furniture, and canoes.

The coconut itself, though, holds the real magic. As a young fruit, the flesh is soft, sweet, and jelly-like. It matures into a crisp, juicy nut, which can be eaten, dried, grated, pressed for oil, or boiled into milk. It is full of nutrients and medium chain fatty acids, one of which is Lauric acid, which is converted in the body to Monolaurin, which is anti-bacterial and supports the body's ability to fight lipid-based nasties (like herpes, HIV, influenza, etc). Another of it's medium chain fatty acids is Capric acid, which transforms into mono-caprin, which is then anti-microbial. The oil itself, as we know, is massively stable and is dissimilar to all other vegetable oils in that it doesn't oxidize in cooking. It is nourishing for the skin when applied topically and, as a sunscreen, blocks many of the 'cancer causing rays' while allowing your body to continue producing Vitamin D from the sun! I'll mention that I've always heard that coconut water-- which is truly hydrating and naturally potassium rich (thats an electrolyte, you know)-- can be used in place of plasma during emergency blood transfusions.

In one canded photo of my kitchen, once, I spotted no less than four coconut products. Some that I can think of off-hand:

Coconut Oil
Coconut Water
Coconut kefir
Coconut Milk
Coconut Flour
Unsweetened Dried Flakes/Shreds
Young Coconut Flesh
Old Coconut Flesh
Coconut Vinegar
Coconut Aminos
Coconut Butter
Coconut Cream
& Creamed Coconut
(That may have been less annoying had I cut the word 'coconut' from every item)

For my commemorative first Ode (as well as my primal birthday celebration), I will post three recipes: A traditional Hawaiian dessert, Haupia; Coconut Sour Cream; and Coconut Stir-Fry.

ODE TO THE COCONUT! First comment gets A PRIZE-- just list 5 (real, primal) uses for coconut that I didn't mention.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

You can hurl them at tigers beneath you when you're stuck up in a tree, you can bang two coconut halves together to make a lovely horse hoof experience, it can become a jaunty hat on the hottest of days, put three of 'em together and you can juggle with them--instant street act and entrepreneurial genius, and I'm pretty sure I've seen them as battle armor on the Lost Boys in the 1991 hit motion picture, "Hook", starring Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman.

Done and done.

--Zach

Sandy said...

Aaah! How about coconut jewelery, coconut bowl, coconut pancakes, coconut ambrosia and the never unforgettable coconut bra. I'm hungry now!

Sandy said...

I forgot the loveliest of wind chimes.
Love Postermama

Jeff said...

I'm just sad that i couldn't win the prize. I have a friend here in Waco who is working with a prof researching was to turn coconut by-products and waste into fuel and reusable resources, its pretty cool stuff. You can also make a face on an empty coconut and name it something clever to be your friend when you're stranded on an island(tell me if you don't get this reference and i'll explain :P)

El said...

Zach!!! You win the first comment prize. Plus, you used 'Jaunty Hat.' Please send your address my way! There really is a prize.

MOM! You win the 'my favorite' prize for mentioning WIND CHIMES! That remind me of small kid time :) 'course, the bowl is also a dear favorite of mine. Sigh! Why don't I have more koa/coconut dishware!?

And Jeff -- of course I get the movie reference. And you win the prize for 'most-earth-concious modern-solution-that-harkens-back to-the-days-of-using-pressed-dried-coconut-waste-as-fuel.--and-also-txting-me-in-Hawaiian-and-making-my-morning.' So also send your address my way.

See? Participation rocks!