Monday, 3 April 2017

Amazing local tree - Coconut

Used to be you can find coconuts trees all over the place.  With development, there are less and less of these trees.  One of the main end-product from this tree is from the coconuts producing coconut oil.  It underwent decades of being labelled as "unhealthy" before researchers finally realised that it is actually healthy and provides a lot of benefits and does not contain trans fat but does contain the good saturated fats - the medium chain triglycerides.  So now, it is back in fashion.

There are many varieties of coconut trees and at the farm we plant 3 types: kelapa gading, kelapa udang and kelapa pandan.  I selected these three species based for different reasons.  The kelapa gading starts fruiting in about 4 years and at a height that is easy to harvest.  You can consume the young coconut wit its sweet coconut water or allow it to mature and it produces a sweet coconut oil.  The kelapa udang produces a larger size fruit hence I chose it for mature fruits for EVCO and cooking.  This tree grows tall and takes about 6-7 years before it starts to fruit.  The kelapa pandan was chosen for its sweet with pandan aroma coconut fruit and young flesh.  It is a "medium" height tree so it makes harvesting easy and starts to fruit in 4-5 years.  These trees are easy to take care of -if you have good soil, there is no need to fertilise and no need to water unless there is an extended drought season with the ground cracking.  At the farm, we have never had to water them.

Some of the benefits from this tree is:

  1. From the leaves, you can produce lidi which can be grouped together to create a brush-like broom - penyapu lidi.   The leaves are also used to weave a case for rice or glutinous rice in traditional Malay cuisine.
  2. From the coconut husk, you can use as an element in the fire when you want to smoke fish or barbecue.  It is also great to be turned into mulch or added to the compost pile.  
  3. The coconut shell can be turned into various utensils or containers.  
  4. The coconut flesh can be eaten raw from young coconuts or used for cooking, producing coconut milk or making oil in mature coconuts.  
  5. The leftover grated coconut after producing the coconut milk is great for feeding chickens.  I find that including the leftover grated coconut in the chicken feed helps to increase the egg-laying productivity of the hens.
  6. The by-product of producing EVCO (Extra Virgin Coconut Oil) contains beneficial microbes and is great for use as fertiliser. (Note: Difference between EVCO and VCO is EVCO is the production of the oil without the use of heat via permaculture method or other similar methods.)

So, if you have extra room, this is a great tree to plant and you can select the species you want based on what you like 😉

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