Categories: Coconut

THE COCONUT TREE, THE WONDER TREE OF SRI LANKA

Forming the overall vegetation that covers the ground of Sri Lanka, it is hard to find a bit of the sky that is not crowded by the towering figures of the coconut trees with their leaves reaching to the heavens.

The Sri Lankan lifestyle has been inextricably intertwined with the coconut, not only for its milk, water, and oil, but also to its leaves, trunk, and the fibrous husk that surrounds the coconut.  No part of the coconut goes to waste in a Sri Lankan household.

In ancient times, people used coconut milk and scraped coconut extensively in their daily preparation of main dishes, desserts, beverages, and medicine.  Even today, Sri Lankans hardly pass a couple of hours without consuming food or drink made with coconut milk.  The water inside the young coconut may be a favorite thirst quencher among the locals, and coconut milk has even found its way into modern cocktails and mocktails.

There are also other products like coconut treacle, jaggery, and vinegar made out of the sap of the cut coconut flower, which is an outsized part of the Sri Lankan lifestyle and is still in use mainly in the preparation of their favorite desserts, pickles, and preserves.  Natural coconut vinegar is widely used as a coffee glycemic and a low-sugar option to wine or cider vinegar.  The powdered coconut jaggery is being celebrated worldwide as coconut sugar.

To cater to the changing trends of worldwide cuisine, Sri Lankan coconut product manufacturers have developed a variety of coconut milk-based products, including coconut powdered milk, coconut milk cream, and coconut butter, which are easily mixed into coconut milk to feature texture, flavor, and thickness to dishes.

Coconut oil, too, has been a staple of the Sri Lankan lifestyle since ancient times; it is used to fry and temper food, light oil lamps, and copra oil is applied to hair for extra conditioning.  Although copra oil does not provide Sri Lanka with the sole source of illumination, copra oil lamps are still lit in thousands of places daily, such as at Buddhist Temples and Hindu Kovils by devotees seeking enlightenment.  Sri Lankan copra oil manufacturers provide the markets with virgin copra oil, also as RBD copra oil, to suit the needs of local and global buyers.

The fiber found within the coconut husk belongs to two coir fiber types, namely, bristle fiber (long fiber) and matt fiber (short fiber).  A singular traditional technique is understood because the ‘Ceylon drum system’ is used to extract the bristle fiber, producing a long pure fiber, which is most fitted to the comb industry.  Long pure fiber mainly belongs to two main categories; brown and white fiber, which contributes to 80% and 20%, respectively, of the planets coir fiber demand.

Today, Sri Lanka is one of the most crucial coir exporters to the planet, and coir rope and twine manufacturing may be home-based.  Even the empty coconut shell is not discarded in Sri Lankan homes.  They, too, are made into simple utensils with a wooden handle to be used in the kitchen or burnt at the stove when cooking.  Sri Lanka also exports active carbon and an active carbon solution, which is made out of coconut shells and has a wide variety of uses in households, farms, and industries.

Although not celebrated as other hardwood found in Sri Lanka, coconut wood is rapidly catching up as a robust alternative to traditional hardwood varieties like teak and ebony.  Used to produce kitchen utensils and as rafters and building material, coconut wood is widely utilized in furniture and ornaments today.  Coconut wood and coconut shell suppliers in Sri Lanka export raw materials to many leading designer houses across the U.S.A. and Europe.

Another part of the tree that is used is the coconut leaf.  It can be used as an animal feed or woven into an attention-grabbing pattern to be used for thatching and to help stop erosion.  It is also used as firewood, while the keel within the middle of the leaf is employed to form the brooms needed to sweep the gardens clean.

With many benefits derived from the many different parts of the coconut, it is no wonder that the coconut and its flowers are considered a symbol of prosperity within the South Asian region.

Chamath Dilshan

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Chamath Dilshan

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