Six or seven months after the fruits emerge, the inside of the coconut contains mostly water, which you can harvest and drink. Tweet. Stages of Ripeness | Storage and Selection. In about a year, all of the juice inside the coconut has solidified and the coconut naturally falls from the tree where it will germinate. No, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are unusable. Not every fruit that drops to the ground is completely ripe. And do coconuts ripen after they are picked? Young Coconuts Versus Mature Coconuts, the Facts. Coconuts are harvested for the milky coconut water or for the white nut meat, both of which develop at different stages of ripeness. Palm trees and coconut trees are one and the same. Coconuts are cultivated for their meat, or copra, which is pressed to release oil. The origin of these palms is somewhat of a mystery but is widespread throughout the tropics, and primarily found on sandy beaches. Except for knowing when fruits are fully ripe, it is difficult to judge based on color alone, because they start out green when the bunches emerge but aren't ready to harvest for water until six or seven months later. If you want to harvest the fruit for the coconut water, the fruit is ready 6-7 months after emergence. A palm tree can yield about 50 coconuts per year, and each coconut takes about a year to grow. The husk slowly turns to brown as the fruits mature. If you aren’t scared of heights, a ladder is certainly a way to get to the coconuts. If you live in a suitably tropical region (USDA zones 10-11), you may be lucky enough to have a coconut in your landscape. A coconut takes a full year to develop from a flower into a ripe nut. How Long Is It for a Citrus Tree to Produce? Coconut palms produce coconuts all year long, but each fruit must be harvested at the right time for optimal flavor. When harvested for food however, coconuts are most desirable when they are between six and seven months old. Sign up for our newsletter. 0. The color of the coconut husk is also a good indication of ripeness. Fortunately, coconuts naturally fall from the tree when they are fully ripe. Coconut oil was the leading vegetable oil in use until 1962 when it was bypassed in popularity by soybean oil. If you live in a suitably tropical region (USDA zones 10-11), you may be lucky enough to have a coconut in your landscape. If the tree is small or has bent from the weight of the nuts, you may be able to reach them easily and clip them from the palm using sharp pruning shears. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Get on our mailing list! The nut also provides coconut water, of which much has been made of late. Featured Recipes Want the latest “Crespo Juice”? If you want to eat the fresh coconut with a spoon, wait until you can hear water sloshing around but the sound is somewhat deadened as a result of the developing layer of nut meat. When they are young and green, the clear juice inside some varieties is sweet and refreshing, sometimes naturally fragrant with a subtle hint of flowers. True coconut milk is a product made by soaking coconut juice and coconut flesh together to form a cream. When Will the Dwarf Wurtz Avocado Bear Fruit? How to Tell When Coconuts Are Ripe on the Tree, Florida Gardener: Cocos nucifera Coconut Palm. You can reach taller trees with a pole pruner, but even telescoping pole pruners have a limited reach, making it impossible to access coconuts from a 60-foot tree. It would be impractical to bring in a cherry picker and many of us lack the fortitude to shimmy up a tree with only a rope. The flesh of fully mature coconuts has an undesirable soapy flavor and the nut no longer contains any juice. If the coconuts seem ready for harvest, the stalk is cut down and dropped to the ground or lowered using a rope. Coconut palm trees (Cocos nucifera) are popular for bringing a tropical flair to the garden or pool in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. How Does a Coconut Ripen?. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images. During this time the fruit of the coconut passes through four food phases; (1) Even before the nut is ripe, when it is bright green in colour, the juice or milk can be drunk. If you can access the bunch or if fruits fall to the ground, you can use the shaking method to judge ripeness. A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. To Recipes . The questions then arise, when are coconuts ripe and how to pick coconuts from trees? If the tree is tall, a pole pruner may be of assistance. Coconuts take around one year to ripen fully. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites. Lastly, although we previously mentioned that all fallen coconuts are not ripe, they usually are. 0. Gentle Squeeze Test. So how about the harvesting of coconut trees for the home grower? Pin It. During this time the fruit of the typical coconut passes through 3 phases: Phase 1: Even before the nut is ripe when it is bright green, one may drink the water but to harvest pre-maturely is not a sustainable model. Her essays have been used on college entrance exams and she has more than 4,000 publishing credits. Coconuts begin as small green orbs full of a sweet liquid known as coconut juice or coconut water. This is their way of reproducing; the nuts eventually sprout into a new tree. Dropped nuts are certainly the easiest way to get a coconut, but can also be hazardous; a tree that is dropping nuts could also drop one on you. Over the next five or six months, the water converts to the white nut meat lining around the inside of the shell. The residual cake is then used to feed livestock. Along with the timing, color is also an indicator of ripeness. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! NEXT. Several coconuts grow together in a bunch and they ripen about the same time. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. If the nut sounds hollow, you have a mature fruit. Coconut palm trees (Cocos nucifera) are popular for bringing a tropical flair to the garden or pool in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. Fertilizing Coconut Palm Trees: How And When To Fertilize Coconut Palms, Growing Coconut Palms - How To Grow A Coconut Plant, Coconut Palm Diseases – Reasons And Fixes For Coconut Wilting, Poison Ivy Treatments: Poison Ivy Home Remedy Tips, DIY Lemongrass Tea: How To Make Lemongrass Tea, What Is Weed Tea – Making Fertilizer From Weeds, Potted Dill Plant Care: Tips For Growing Dill In Containers, Bent Flower Stems: How To Repair Crushed Or Bent Stems On Plants, When To Fertilize Agapanthus – Tips On Fertilizing Agapanthus Plants, Functional Garden Design – How To Create A “Grow And Make” Garden, Home Remedy For Stomachaches: Creative Ways To Use Ginger Root, 13 DIY Projects That'll Bring Your Garden Indoors for the Holidays and Help Feed the World, Getting Plants Cheap – Words Of Wisdom From A Haphazard Gardener. Luckily, there are dwarf varieties of coconuts that grow to less dizzying heights. Of course, this brings us to the question of whether coconuts ripen after they are picked. Meat harvested at this stage is often dried to a form known as "copra," which is squeezed to extract coconut oil. Read on to find out all about harvesting coconuts. The harvesting of coconuts occurs on these commercial farms by either climbing the tree using a rope or with the assistance of power operated ladder. Writing professionally since 2008, Michelle Miley specializes in home and garden topics but frequently pens career, style and marketing pieces. At peak maturity, when the coconut meat has hardened, the outer husk is solid brown throughout. In some cases, such as when the tree bends down toward the ground, you might simply be able to reach up and clip the coconuts from the tree. When I Shake My Cantaloupe I Can Hear the Loose Seeds, Is it Ripe? She holds an Associate of Applied Science in accounting, having graduated summa cum laude. If the tapping sounds hollow, the coconut is fully ripe. As the coconut matures, the amount of coconut water is replaced as the meat hardens. Selection. A coconut takes a full year to develop from a flower into a ripe nut. Most commercially grown coconuts are grown by small landowners, unlike other tropical fruits, which are grown on plantations. Coconut is the most economically important of the palm family, and is grown as both a food crop as well as an ornamental. In some cases, the fallen coconut might be immature enough that you can still consume the meat, but coconuts also fall when they have begun to sprout. The fruit is then tapped with a knife to test for maturity. PREVIOUS. Immature coconuts that are mostly filled with coconut water are bright green in color. 1 Min Read. If you want to wait for the delicious meat, you need to wait for another 5-6 months. Trees produce multiple bunches at various times of year, so you must keep track of each new developing bunch. The questions then arise, when are coconuts ripe and … Not only is it a good thirst quencher, the juice is also good for reducing heat in the body. The coconut should be fully ripe at 12 months after fruits emerge. A falling coconut can cause serious injury, so proceed with caution when standing under a coconut palm tree. Like. This is how the palm reproduces, by dropping nuts that will eventually become new trees. Coconuts take about one year to fully ripen, with several coconuts growing together in bunches that ripen at about the same time. So how do you know when the coconuts are ripe? As the young coconut matures, the coconut juice slowly solidifies, creating a thin layer of white flesh, or “meat,” around the inside of the coconut. As the inside of the coconut solidifies, the outside turns from green to brown. Coconuts are harvested for the milky coconut water or for the white nut meat, both of which develop at different stages of ripeness. So, back to harvesting your coconut. 0. You can also assess fruit that has dropped to the ground for ripeness by shaking it. At differing stages in their maturity, coconuts can be utilized to produce milk, water, oils and flakes. Coconuts at six to seven months contain mostly coconut water, so you hear a lot of water sloshing inside the shell. Coconuts reside in the palm (Arecaceae) family, which contains about 4,000 species. Also, tap on the exterior of the shell. Mature coconuts are brown, while immature fruit is bright green. If you want to eat the coconut meat when it soft and can be eaten with a spoon, you will hear some sounds of liquid when you shake the nut, but the sound will be muted since a layer of meat has developed. Fully ripened, copra coconuts make no sound when you hold them up to your ear and shake. Soft at first, the meat of the coconut gradually hardens as more and more of the coconut juice dries. A little about the maturation of the fruit is in order before even discussing harvesting your coconuts. Again, fully ripened fruit is filled with meat, so you should hear no sloshing of the coconut water if it is completely ripe.
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