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Coconuts are large, round fruits with a hard brown shell and a creamy, white firm flesh.  The outer shell is covered with coarse brown fibers. The shell has three eyes at one end, one of which is soft. Inside the shell, a thin brown skin adheres firmly to the kernel, or flesh. The interior of the coconut is hollow and contains liquid. After removing the shell and skin, the flesh is used for culinary purposes The liquid is usually discarded.


Serve chunks of fresh coconut as a snack or dessert. Though often discarded, the juice is superb and can be added to fruit salads or mixed with rum. Add grated fresh coconut to fruit salads, serve with curry dishes and use to flavor puddings, custards, cakes and cookies. Use in fruit ambrosia.


Coconuts originated in southern Asia, but because they float, they easily spread to islands and coastlines throughout the world. In the 16th century, the Spanish introduced the coconut to Puerto Rico and the Portuguese introduced it to Brazil.

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