A popular fruit consumed around the world, the coconut is healthy and tasty, and it grows in tropical regions. World Coconut Day celebrates everything that has to do with this delicious and nutritious fruit!
History of World Coconut Day
Coconuts are a food that humans have found sustenance in for at least 2,000 years. Probably native to Indonesia, the name coconut translates to “walnut from India”. While coconuts would have traveled throughout the Indian subcontinent and even to Africa in the early years, they didn’t make it to Europe until some time around the 16th century.
It is likely that coconuts were introduced to Europeans through the Maritime Silk Road, which connected the East with the West. Marco Polo may have been one of the many travelers and explorers who would have brought coconuts back with them.
When the Asia Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) was founded in 1969, it was created in an attempt to help support and promote the tropical countries that are high in growing, producing, selling and exporting coconuts. Located in Jakarta, Indonesia, this group stays connected with the production and export of coconuts. Sharing scientific expertise and coordinating activities within the industry, the members of the APCC are responsible for the growth of more than 90% of the coconuts produced and sold all over the globe.
Founded in 2009, World Coconut Day was started by the Asia and Pacific Coconut Community to promote the activities of coconut growers while raising awareness about the fruit for those outside of the growing community.
The celebration of World Coconut Day offers plenty of opportunities for this important product of the Asia-Pacific region to enter into the forefront of conversation of people around the world!
World Coconut Day Timeline
1st Century BC
Coconuts are present in Indian subcontinent
Historical records from Sri Lanka show that coconuts existed before this time.
Coconuts are introduced to Europe
Arriving as many exotic foods did, through the Maritime Silk Road, Europeans were exposed to coconuts through traders like Marco Polo.
Almond Joy candy bar hits the scene
This candy bar combines the sweetness of shredded coconut with an almond and then covers it in delicious milk chocolate.
Vita Coco introduces coconut water
Offering a delicious and nutritious beverage, Vita Coco begins a trend of bottling coconut water and making it commercially available.
World Coconut Day is first celebrated
Started by the Asia-Pacific Coconut Community, World Coconut Day aims to raise awareness and bring harmony to the growth and distribution of coconuts.
How to Celebrate World Coconut Day
Getting involved with World Coconut Day is easy – all it takes is tasting and enjoying this delicious fruit. Consider some of these ideas to celebrate the day:
Enjoy Eating a Coconut
Some people who haven’t grown up around this delicious fruit might be intimidated by its brown, hairy shell. But once it is broken into and the creamy white flesh is exposed, it is a fragrant delight to behold.
First, start by poking a hole in the coconut at the end near the ‘eye’, where the shell is the thinnest. Use a screwdriver or hammer with a clean nail to make the hole. This will allow for the water of the coconut to be drained.
Pro Tip: Strain the coconut water through a cheesecloth and into a cup, and then drink it up!
Once the juice has been drained out of the coconut, one of the easiest ways to break open the fruit is by using a handsaw to cut it in half. Other people might want to simply put it into a sturdy bag and bang it against a stone or concrete until it breaks. This method is a bit messy, but it works.
Once the coconut is open, remove the meat from the shell and enjoy eating it fresh!
Cook or Bake with Coconut
One way to enjoy National Coconut Day without having to go to the trouble of cracking open the fruit is by purchasing the coconut in bags that are shredded or chipped. These are often pre-sweetened and ready to be used in recipes. Since the fruit is a tropical one, and the day falls at the end of the summer, many recipes are cool and refreshing.
Consider cooking or baking with some of these recipe ideas to celebrate the day:
- Coconut Cream Pie. This classic pie contains coconut flakes or chips, coconut milk, heavy cream and eggs, and is topped with mounds of sweet whipped cream.
- Coconut Ice Cream. This refreshing dessert is so simple, all it needs is 6 ingredients: whipping cream, sugar, vanilla, milk, salt and, of course, shredded coconut.
- Coconut Milk Pudding. This delicious recipe is similar to the consistency of flan, but is made with coconut milk, gelatin, mango, butter, grated coconut, condensed milk and other simple ingredients.
- Coconut Rice Pudding. A special blend of coconut milk and rice, this dessert is delicious when served with a homemade rhubarb compote or jam. The coconut and rhubarb flavors just meld together on the tongue!
Drink a Piña Colada
A classic tropical drink, the piña colada contains delicious ingredients like pineapple juice, coconut cream, rum, lime juice and ice, all blended together into a delicious frozen beverage. Throw the ingredients in a blender at home and mix it up. Garnish with a drink umbrella and skewer with red cherries for a vibrant presentation.
Try Out Some Coconut Water
A fairly new product on the market, bottled coconut water can be found in many places around the world now. Coconut water is actually the juice or liquid that comes from young coconut plants. Some brands of coconut water that might be worth trying out in celebration of National Coconut Day include Vita Coco, ZICO, Naked Coconut Water, and C2O.
Listen to Some Coconut Themed Music
One fun way to enjoy National Coconut Day is to enjoy a few songs that were written around the theme of coconuts. Try out some of these ideas to get started making a tropical playlist just for this day:
- Coconut by Harry Nillson (1971). Probably the most famous song about coconuts, the lyrics are “put de lime in de coconut and drink ‘em both togedder”.
- Cocoanut Woman by Harry Belafonte (1957). Released on his album called “Belafante sings of the Caribbean”, this song is about a lady on the island who is selling coconut water.
- Coconut Telegraph by Jimmy Buffet (1981). Appearing as the title song on the album of the same name, this song speaks of a Tuesday on the island when information and gossip is exchanged.
- I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts by Merv Griffin (1950). With lyrics that make a story out of a coconut toss at a fair, this song is a silly and playful classic from a bygone era.
World Coconut Day FAQs
Is coconut a fruit?
Even though it has the word “nut” in the name, coconut is a fibrous, one-seeded fruit that falls into the drupe, or stone fruit family.
Is coconut oil good for you?
Yes. Coconut oil has a variety of nutrients that are healthy when consumed by humans, including fatty acids, healthy cholesterol, ketones and more.
Do coconuts grow on palm trees?
While coconuts do grow on a certain type of palm tree, not all palm trees are coconut trees.
Is coconut water good for you?
Coconut water offers many healthy benefits, including electrolytes, magnesium, potassium, antioxidants and more.
Should coconut oil be refrigerated?
Coconut oil is long-lasting, up to two years, and does not need to be refrigerated.