A Fruit Or Not a Fruit? All the Truth About Coconut

Let’s get to know this deliciousness better!

Let’s get to know this deliciousness better!

You may think that there is nothing to be questioning. The name coconut itself shows that this thing is a nut. But is it really so? Is coconut a fruit? Or is it a nut?

Instead of trying to guess, we suggest you read this article and find out the truth about this mysterious foodstuff.

What Makes Fruits Fruits?

What Makes Fruits Fruits
giphy

 

To begin with, let’s make it clear what is classified as fruits.

First of all, fruits are the reproductive organs of the flowering plants. When flowers drop off, the fruit remains until it becomes ripe.

Second, they always contain seeds.

Fruits are known for having skin and a softer juicy inside flesh that covers the seed or the seeds.

Depending on their built, fruits are divided into several classes:

  • Drupes

Fleshy fruits with one hard seed, fleshy and juicy insides, and outer shell (e.g. peaches, nectarines, olives).

  • Berries

These have several small seeds and fleshy inside with skin on (grapes, tomatoes, eggplant)

  • Pomes

Many seeds, juicy insides, and fleshy tissue that is sweet (apples, pears).

  • Hesperidia and Pepos

Leathery rind and fleshy insides are the significant features of this class that includes grapes, citruses, cucumbers, squash, etc.

However, there are also dry fruits! And no, we don’t mean raisins or something similar. This class includes, for instance, sunflower seeds, beans, peas, corn, and…some nuts! For example, hazelnuts, acorns, and hickory, which are actually the fruits filled with a single seed covered with the hard shell that doesn’t open when the fruit ripens.

What Makes Nuts Differ From Fruits?

What Makes Nuts Differ From Fruits
Photo by Rayia Soderberg

So, if certain kinds of nuts are in fact the members of the fruit family, what do we usually call nuts then?

It may seem to be quite confusing, indeed, but most of the foodstuff that people used to call nuts are in fact seeds or drupes.  

The only true nuts are hazelnuts, acorns, and hickory. And they are classified as a subclass of fruits. The only visible difference is that true nuts have a hard outer shell that is inedible and single edible seed.

Coconut Specifics And How It Grows

As for the coconut, we are often confused to classify it. On the one hand, it has a hard shell (that makes it close to nuts), but on the other hand, its soft insides pull it towards fruits.

In addition, it is juicy (remember the coconut water inside of the shell), and nuts have no juice or any other liquids inside, right?

So what is it? Is coconut a fruit or a nut?

Well, botanically, coconut belongs to drupes, the kind of fruits that have an outer fleshy part that surrounds a single hardened shell with a seed or kernel inside. And since coconuts lack many of the proteins that people with a tree nut allergy are sensitive to, they can be eaten safely without causing any allergic reaction.

Coconuts grow on the coconut palm trees in large bunches. At first, the fruits are green and huskless, but as they become riper and riper, they obtain the appearance that we all know – the hairy brown cover that hides the hard fruit.

Most of us don’t know about it, but the fully grown coconut has a big seed inside. This seed is surrounded by the white flesh and that flavorous coconut water.

So yes, coconuts are not shallow inside as you could probably think before.

To get that white meaty part, the coconut must be cracked in two. Then each half needs to be tapped while it’s turned cut side down to loosen the flesh. And then the flesh is taken out with a knife or scooped out with any flat object.

Why Is Coconut Healthy

Why Is Coconut Healthy
Photo by Corinne Kutz

In fact, no matter whether coconut is a fruit or a nut, it is extremely healthy and beneficial for people.

  1. Coconuts contain only healthy fats that are easily incorporated by our bodies
  2. They are rich in lauric acid that helps us to fight viruses
  3. Eating coconuts regularly will contribute greatly to your brain health and will once and for all make you forget about such things as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s!
  4. Coconuts protect us from type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  5. Coconut flesh lowers the level of cholesterol
  6. Fresh coconut meat is a perfect natural source of fiber
  7. Both coconut water and milk are super rich in minerals

How to Choose Good Coconuts And Keep Them Properly

Since we are not used to dealing with the exotic foodstuffs that often, knowing how to spot ripe coconuts when shopping can both save you time and money.

So, to get the freshest one, follow these instructions.

  • Look for whole and unopened coconuts. They must be firm, heavy for their size, and dry around the “eyes”
  • If you see small dark spots on a coconut, they are most likely the early signs of mold
  • To check the quality, shake the coconut – you need to hear the water splashing inside
  • Keep opened coconuts or their flesh refrigerated and make sure you eat them within a few weeks, otherwise, the tasty foodstuff will spoil
  • If you are not sure whether you will manage a whole coconut, freeze its flesh. It can stay preserved like this for up to six months

How On Earth to Open It?!

How On Earth to Open It
Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis

Yes, that might be challenging, especially if you never dealt with this thing before. But relax, we know what to do to get to the meaty white flesh and tasty water!

  • Prepare a hammer and a screwdriver
  • Puncture the ‘eyes“ of coconut by using a hammer and a screwdriver (you need to penetrate the shell with a screwdriver). Pour the water out from the coco
  • Once the liquid is out, hammer the coconut around in circles until the shell cracks. Widen the crack with the help of a screwdriver to split the coconut
  • Scrape the flesh out, and remember to scrape the brown skin off it

Done! Now you can enjoy this delicious treat!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Is eggplant fruit?

Eggplants are classified as fruits but technically they are berries.

⭐Is coconut a fruit or not?

To be precise, coconuts are drupes, but yes, they do belong to the family of fruits.

⭐ Are all coconuts edible?

Coconuts can be eaten only if they are ripe which means that they have to turn brown.

⭐ What family is coconut in?

Coconut is a member of the fruits family being a drupe to be precise.

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Written by
Elisa Chan
She is a passionate cooker because of her education she loves to make healthy and delicious dishes. She is happy to share with us her proper freezing and storing tips to keep all the nutrients. Currently working on easy to implement storing food guide.
Or editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here.
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