Advanced Method of Coconut and Sugar Palm Sap Collection

If the budget and resources permit then below is the ideal method of sap collection for coconut and sugar palm.

A small house in center of 500 to 1,000 coconut plantation. Several large polyethylene hoses run through the farm. Then numerous smaller polyethylene hoses are connected to large ones. The hose end have wider tips to fit the coconut infloresence.

After cutting the coconut infloresence, a hose is fitted. The sap will flow continously from cut infloresence, to small hose, to larger hose then to a centralize collection chamber.  Important pre-processing  procedures maybe done here before transport to main processing area.

Possible advantages:

1) Less labor. Fit the hose to cut infloresence and the sap will flow continously to centralize collection tank.

2) May skipped or lessened the repeated trimming of cut infloresence. The enclosed system prevents stalk drying.

3) More yield. Longer stalk life span means longer collection period and more harvest.

4) Less contamination. Automated and eclosed system means less contamination. No dirt from air, leaves and other trees. No rain water infusion during rainy days.

5) More control. Harvest and process sap every hour for maximum sugar yield, for sugar and syrup production. Harvest twice or thrice a day for alcohol and vinegar production.

The same is true with sugar palm and nipa palm.

Coconut Milk as Dairy Milk Substitute? Others point of views

What they are saying about coconut milk?

Wiki. The consistency and mildly sweet taste is similar to coconut milk. Proper preparation is able to almost eliminate the coconut flavor. Use by people allergic to animal milk and by vegans. Use for tea and coffee and bakery products which require cow’s milk.

Wiki. Sweetened coconut milk is served as drink. Prepared by adding sugar and fresh cow’s milk or evaporated milk.

theecologist.org. It is creamy, dairy-free and a great alternative for lactose intolerant. Contains good fat and easily convertible to energy – means it is never stored as tummy fat. Rich in lauric acid, a substance found in human milk.

Note: No recommendations about coconut milk as replacement for infant formula or breastmilk. Some infant formula use soy milk but not coconut milk.

realfooduniversity.com. The protein found in coconut milk is superior among other foods. Has good vitamin and mineral profile and a fair protein and carbohydrate contents. It was recommended over raw milk, almond milk, whole milk and rice milk.

Drinks made from coconut milk

Piña colada. A drink originated from Puerto Rico. It is a combination of rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice. Virgin Piña Colada is a non alcoholic version. I think the Piña Colada is related to our very own pineapple and orange punch.

Coquito con Ron. According to seattlebonvivant.typepad.com, Coquito or Ron con Coco (Rum with Coconut) is a very tropical, rummy, redolent of spices and extremely coco-nutty eggnog that is quite popular around the holidays. I had a hard time finding definition cause most are written in Spanish language.

For Filipinos, coconut milk is popular for cooking ginataan recipes.

emptied coconut shell

How to Make Coconut Milk Soft Cheese/Kesong Puti

Can we make soft cheese out of coconut milk? Maybe or maybe not! Here are the three versions for you to try.

Version 1. Shredded semi-matured coconut with a dash of rock salt and very little cold pressed olive oil. I think the coconut maturity for use is what we called alangan. The fully matured coconut is hard and has a distinct oily taste. Shredded means it has to be turned to small pieces using cheese shredder. This is an attempt to mimic the looks and salty taste of cheese.

Version 2. Grated matured coconut is pressed to extract out the milk. Hydraulic pressed is recommended get most liquid. Citric juice and rock salt are added to taste. Then milk solids are concentrated by placing the mixture on fine filter paper for 36 to 48 hours.

Version 3. A procedure by Sanchez, P.C. and P.M. Rasco, 1983. This one entails mixing coconut milk and dairy milk followed by actual cheese process.

1) Add 80 grams cold pressed coconut milk to 840 grams water of 72ºC temperature. Stir for five minutes. Add non-fat dry milk or powdered skim milk gradually with continuous mixing.

2) Add pure culture of Streptococcus lactis and Streptococcus diacetilactis and let stand for 15 minutes. Mix three percent salt and filter through clean cheesecloth.

3) Pasteurize at 72ºC for five minutes then cool quickly to 40ºC  by placing the cooking vessel on running water bath.

4) Mix in three percent rennet and let undisturbed for 30 minutes. Filter off the excess water by placing on slotted trays lined with cheesecloth for about 12 hours.

Coconut milk and dairy milk has similar properties. That’s why the first can be used as extender for the latter. Not completely the same though. Using only coconut or coconut milk for soft cheese production requires an entirely different procedure.

Coconut Shell Spoons

We are never using the coconut shell bowl yet. The wood glue I used is not fully dried. Exposure to heat and water might cause premature disassembly.

My younger sister saw two hand made bowls. She told me that mom and dad are still the same. It is one of their bahay kubo utensils. She praised my creations not because it’s elegant. She liked it cause it has sturdy base.

She reminded me that we used to have two types of coconut shell ladles. The first one is a ladle with no handle. We were using it for serving rice. The other was similar to a cup but with a long handle – for serving soups and juices.

Lets go making other things out of coconut shell! The regular spoon and rice serving spoon.

1) Find a suitable coconut shell for the purpose. Either find a newly husked coconut and cut it carefully with a hacksaw or find a recently emptied shell.

2) Draw the pattern on outside surface. Then trim the unnecessary areas with a hacksaw or a dremrel. Smoothen the sides with angle grinder. Be very cautious with the use of angle grinder. Use eye protector and appropriate clothing.

3) Scrape off remaining husks with a sharp knife. Remove the inner thin soft wood coating using the same knife. Smoothen both sides and edges with a fine sand paper.

4) Create handles of appropriate thickness and length. Fix to carved coconut shell with a strong wood glue. I used bamboo for my two projects. Let dry before use.

Here are my partially completed projects. The bigger is the rice serving spoon. I will replace the gi wire  and  electric tape with stainless steel strips.

coconut shell spoons

Making A Coconut Shell Cup/Bowl

Among the natural creations, coconut shell is the best material suited for holding food stuffs. Perhaps it was very popular the time when ceramic, plastic and metal cups were not yet invented.

When I was young, father usually make  cups out of coconut shell. He was making bowl out of extra large coconut shell. We were using it for serving vegetable dishes, meat recipes, soups and hot coffee.

I want to make one and use it for our daily living. I will be following this procedure:

1) Select newly harvested coconut. Judge the size base on purpose. Shells that were left in farm land for too long became too brittle and not suitable.

2) Clean the shell by scraping the surface with a sharp knife.

3) With shell eye facing upward, draw a horizontal line slightly above the center. This will serve as guide for the next step.

4) Saw the shell with a metal saw. Do it gently until the meat is reached. Rotate the shell slightly forward and saw again. Continue until it connects to starting point. Take care not to cut the meat part.

cutting coconut accross

5) Insert a knife in the cut line. Force it around to break it to halves. Grate the meat. Use the grated coconut to cook your favorite ginataan.

6) Get the upper half, the one containing the eye. Cut out a one inch wide ring. This will serve as the bowl base.

7) The hard part. The inner side has a thin soft wood coating. Remove this by any means. A round chisel would do the job well.

8) Make three coconut shell buttons, about 2 cm wide.

9) Assemble the cup. Glue the three buttons on inner sides of the ring (with equal spacing) then glue the cup on three buttons. Use a contact cement or a strong wood glue. Let dry for several days before use.

roughly finished coconut shell bowl

Requirements for Making Nata de Coco

What is nata de coco? It is like a combined jelly ace and bubble gum – a chewy jelly made of coconut water/milk. It has the semi transparent and wiggly characteristics of jelly ace and the chewy property of bubble gum – but not as elastic.

What is nata de coco in English? I guess the proper term would be the name itself “nata de coco”. To describe, it is a cellulose formed by bacterial action in a suitable substrate, a bacterial cellulose. It is able to hold about 90% water.

What are the materials needed in making nata?

1) Nata starter. Perhaps it is the limiting factor why anyone could not jumped easily into nata making. Where to find nata starter?

I mentioned before that nata is a bacterial cellulose. It is synthesized by Acetobacter xylinum. A common bacteria responsible for spoiling good wines. An essential microorganisms in vinegar industry. Acetobacter bacteria can also be found from rotting fruits and spoiled juices.

Nata could be produced from scratch using mother vinegar/rotten fruit plus the favorable conditions. Starting with the pure cultures would be easier though. Get it from government agencies, training institutions or universities.

2) Juice. Coconut is well known in nata industry. However, nata can also be made of other juices such as mango, pineapple and vegetables like kalabasa.

3) Sugar. The ideal amount in juice is ten percent. Juice natural sugar content if insufficient should be reinforced with commercial sugar. The acetobacter use this to make cellulose.

4) Acetic acid. The optimum pH for maximum activity is 4. The organic acid is added to meet this pH value.

5) Ammonium sulfate. It serves as source of nitrogen. Necessary for growth, development and formation of enzymes. Juice usually provides enough nitrogen, commercial ammonium sulfate is added as assurance. The ideal amount is 0.5 percent.

6) Temperature. Room temperature of 28 to 30ºC should be maintained. Mentaining this value is a bit tricky and costly. It is like turning the air conditioner when too hot and having heater bulb when too cold.

7) Fifteen to twenty days of undisturbed fermentation is needed to produced 1.5 cm thick nata out of 5m deep solution.