Naturally refreshing, coconut water has a sweet, nutty taste. It contains easily digested carbohydrate in the form of sugar and electrolytes. Not to be confused with high-fat coconut milk or oil, coconut water is a clear liquid in the fruit’s center that is tapped from young, green coconuts.
Consumers across the globe are now spending billions purchasing coconut water from brands such as Vita Coco, O.N.E. Coconut Water and Zico. While the taste holds up for most of these brands, nothing beats the water from a young coconut that is freshly picked and drunk while in the Caribbean.
The rest of the world has finally opened up to the wonders of coconut water. However, Caribbean residents have long touted its nutritional value and naturally delicious taste. Here, roadside vendors offer up piles of chilled, freshly picked coconut, ready to be enjoyed with the flick of a machete and a straw. Many residents will also have a fully laden tree or two at home.
Coconuts grow on a tall palm tree that requires a certain level of climbing skills to retrieve the hearty bunches of fruit at the top. Drinking water straight from the coconut is one of those unique experiences that characterises life in the tropics.
The young coconut is preferred for drinking, as this is the time when it is believed to contain the freshest, nutrient packed juice. Some people drink the juice from the dried coconut, however the older coconut tends to produce less water and the taste is noticeably more acidic.
All edible parts of the coconut are consumed. The tradition includes fashioning a ‘spoon’ from the husk of the coconut, to be later used to eat the coconut ‘meat’ – the soft jelly-like insides of the young nut. Coconut water is a natural thirst quencher and energy booster, rich in Vitamins C and B, calcium, iron, copper and potassium.
In its purest form, the liquid is rich in electrolytes and carbohydrates as well as restorative amino acids.
It is commonly used to rehydrate sick persons as well as provide relief from some gastrointestinal ailments.