The fruit of the coconut tree is perhaps the most useful plant resource in the tropics. All parts of the coconut fruit have traditional uses that have been developed commercially in recent times (Foale 2003, Dayrit and Dayrit 2013). Due to its widespread household use, trade and industry statistics on coconut products reflect only part of the actual importance of the coconut. Today, coconut-based products have gone beyond the tropics and are consumed in many temperate countries and global regions such as Australia, China, Europe, North America, and the Middle East (Costello 2018). Coconut milk is the basic ingredient of traditional cuisines and desserts worldwide in the Asian tropics, while coconut flour is used in confectionery and bakery products. Coconut oil is widely used as cooking oil, hair and cosmetic oil, and domestic remedies for burns and skin ailments and in soap-making and preparation of traditional medicine. Coconut water can be either consumed fresh or converted into vinegar and nata de coco. The residues of these processes are used for animal feed and soil enhancer. The young inflorescences can be tapped directly to obtain coconut sap. This natural honey-like product can then be evaporated to prepare coco sugar or fermented to produce coconut sap wine and vinegar. These products are markedly distinct from those produced from coconut water. However, if the sap is collected, the harvest of nuts is lost. Nondairy products from the coconut, such as margarines, yoghurts, and cheese, have become more and more popular in the global market. This chapter will deal mainly with the products that can be obtained from the fruit.
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