Cedric Opens the Coconut with Machete!Yesterday, I came home completely covered in dirt and grime. Joel took one look at me and wondered what I could have possibly gotten myself into. Then he saw the coconuts I had carried in. You’ve heard all about my fruit picking experiences in Saba – this one was much more difficult and a bit precarious, but I was determined!

Why, Oh Why?
I had recently learned of the health benefits of fermenting young green coconut water (making coconut kefir) after reading The Body Ecology Diet, by Donna Gates. The Body Ecology Diet is a way of eating that repairs your body or “inner ecosystem.” In fact, it can help for people like me who have food allergies. People have also reported success with things like autism, binge eating, depression, IBS, candida and many other complaints.

Spurred on by the success of eating in this way – I have never felt better, by the way – I wanted to try the fermented young green coconut water, called coconut kefir. In young green coconuts, there is about 1 – 1.5 cups of this water, which is different from mature coconut “milk.” You can learn how to make coconut kefir — and all about the benefits — by going to The Body Ecology Diet website. When you read about the benefits you might want to try some of this coconut kefir too!

Here are some of the benfits listed on Donna’s website:

  • It completely stops your cravings for sugar.
  • It aids digestion of all foods
  • It has a tonifying affect on the intestines, even flattening the abdomen!
  • It appears to cleanse the liver. In Chinese medicine the liver rules the skin, eyes, and joints. Coconut water kefir eases aches and joint pains. Many people report having a prettier complexion. They experience the brown liver spots on the skin fading away and skin tags, moles, or warts drying up and disappearing. Vision also improves.
  • It contains high levels of valuable minerals, including potassium, natural sodium, calcium, and magnesium, which explains why the hair, skin and nails become stronger and have a prettier shine.
  • It appears to have a beneficial, cleansing effect on the endocrine system (adrenals, thyroid, pituitary, ovaries). Women find that their periods are cleaner and healthier; some who had experienced early menopause have found this important monthly cleansing returning again. It increases energy and gives you an overall feeling of good health.

Picking Coconuts, Hacker Style
Okay, so I started asking around about where to find coconuts on the island and was pointed to the type of tree to look for. There are several on the island – and just one tree could yield as many as 20 or more coconuts! Not everyone has them in their yards because the root systems are so big that they can destroy stone walls, house foundations and cisterns.

Luckily, there are plenty in common areas around the island. The tree I found was near the Saba Trail Shop. In a ravine. Through some secondary rainforest (thick, dense plants). So over the curb of the road I went, down through the dense elephant ear plants to this tree. Right away, I could see one mature and several green coconuts. Up high.

Well, I had come this far, I was already dirty – I figured I’d give it a try. The issue is that I’m short and there are no low branches on a coconut tree. Now I’m sure that locals and people in the know use special tools for picking fruit that is really high up. But there I am, with no tools, wanting those coconuts.

Twist & Shout
Thankfully, there were several strong, hardy elephant ear plants, which I used as leverage to shimmy up the tree. I held onto the tree & elephant ear for dear life while I grabbed the mature coconut. It wouldn’t budge. So I twisted…and twisted…and twisted. It finally came down – actually fell down – into the ravine, rolling down the hill into the thickets. Great. Going for the young green coconut, I twisted away, but held on – having already learned my lesson about butter-fingers.

Sliding back down the tree with my one coconut, I set it down and went in search of the mature coconut. I should mention that while there were no bugs (that I could see), there was A LOT of grime. Dusty, sooty, dirty rainforest grime – and it and I became one as I finally found the coconut. Going back up the hill was a challenge, but I used my elephant ear plant friends to help me along.

Way To Get Known In Saba (Not!)
Now you’d think that was bad enough, right? Just as I thought I could slink my sooty self back to our house, I popped back out onto the road and came face to face with a Saban mother walking her child in a stroller. The look she gave me was priceless. I’m not sure what I would have thought if I saw me, covered in dirt, popping out onto the side of the road (where no one would choose to go, mind you). She seemed to give me an understanding look when she saw the coconuts – or maybe she was just relieved that I looked too much like a soiled Holly Hobby to be a danger to society.

Cracking The Coconut
Kenji Looking on as Cedric Cracks the CoconutWell, I’m happy to say that my efforts were well worth it! Today, Cedric, one of our Saban friends, came and showed us how to crack the coconuts. Thankfully, he had his trusty machete to make the job easier. Cedric, his son Kenji, Joel and I had a nice feast of coconut meat, sampled the coconut milk and discussed the ways it could be used in cooking. Joel and I cut the green coconut ourselves so that we could learn the process.

Coconut ready to eat!I can’t say that acquiring coconuts is easy, but now that I’ve done it – and tasted the delicious results, I’m sure I’ll be back in that tree again – this time, with better equipment, including Joel, for a helping hand! I didn’t think of putting the lime from our tree, in the coconut – but Cedric tells us that a little rum in coconut milk makes it taste all the better!

Sing Along: Kermit Sings “Put The Lime In The Coconut…”
Coconut Song: Music & Lyrics