To me fresh young coconuts are a special treat, my kids love them, they go very well in smoothies and the white meat is great in many raw food desert recipes. Coconut milk is a great alternative to dairy - a must have for vegans or for the growing group of people that is allergic to milk.
But what is a coconut? For a food that I like so much, I realized I didn't know much about it. And I was wondering:
Coconut is a large palm, growing to 30 m tall. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit.
Botanically the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. A drupe is a fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a pit of hardened endocarp with a seed inside.
Coconuts sold in the shops of non-tropical countries often have their husk removed. Thus the coconut as you know it in non-tropical countries is the pit or seed of the coconut fruit. The white flesh and water are the insides of the seed.
Other drupes are coffee, mango, olive, date, pistachio, almonds, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach, and plum.
Almonds, peaches and mango are in the same drupe family as coconuts? I always considered almonds nuts and peaches and mangoes fruits. So for me (clearly not a botanic) it seems that coconuts are somewhat of a crossing between a fruit and a nut. And we are eating the flesh and drinking the water of a huge seed.
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