Is a Coconut a Fruit or a Nut?
Is a coconut a fruit or a nut, is a question that confuses many, including yours truly at one point in time. So what’s the deal here?
Technically speaking, botanists classify the coconut as a drupe, not a nut.
A drupe is a fleshy fruit enclosing a hard-shelled stone or seed and composed of an outer, middle, and inner layer. While a nut is a dry fruit consisting of a kernel or seed enclosed in a woody shell.
A mature coconut consists of an outer fibrous covering called the husk. The husk encloses a hard layer or the shell. And attached to the shell is the meat (solid endosperm) which has a thickness of around 15 mm.
The endosperm of a young coconut appears as a thin translucent layer. It takes about 12-14 months to reach maturity, during which, it becomes progressively thicker and more opaque-white.
The white meat is the part of the coconut that is most used for food and the source of “The Greatest Oil on Earth.”
Young green coconuts do not have any oil. But after about a year, the revered and much sought after coconut oil is ready for extraction.
So, yes… A coconut is a fruit!
For us who live here in the tropics and use it daily in many areas of our lives, we “instinctively” call a coconut a fruit. It is the fruit of the Tree of Life, or simply, The Fruit of Life.