Watta of da (h) eart


          Every Sunday, this fella comes and sells jelly and sugarcane out of his car in Hellshire. This is my second jelly since arriving in Jamaica, but I have always been a huge fan of Cocos Nucifera and its diverse uses in and out of the kitchen. I am sure I will write more about coconuts in the future, but here is a spotlight on drinking the liquid of unripe coconuts, also called the jelly/water of the heart in Jamaica. I will never buy the packaged coconut water again after tasting the difference of the fresh stuff! I think the next goal will be getting my own machete and learning how to open the fruit to drink on my own. I would also love to try and make popsicles out of the water!

"The liquid inside the unripe nut makes a cooling drink, slightly acid. Edmund Hickeringill, writing in 1661, thought 'the milky juice...a most ambrosian dainty, very diuretick, a proper pharmacy for nephritick distempers'. Hughes declared 'the wine, or liquor within, quencheth thrist, refrigerateth the spirits', and Long found it 'one of the pleasantest drinks in America'. Since the early nineteenth century, the liquid has been known as 'coconut water'. (Occasionally it was called ' coconut milk', but this usage lapsed). The young coconut, or 'water coconut', is drunk when its sugar content is at its maximum, the sugar providing the only nutritional benefit. To obtain the water, the top of the fruit is cut off with a sharp machete, slicing through husk, shell and kernel to create a small opening to drink from. The next stage of development is the 'jelly coconut', or simply 'jelly', referring to the thin gelatinous layer (the endosperm) formed inside the nut (the endocarp) that can be scooped out and eaten with a spoon."

from "Jamaican Food: History, Biology, Culture" by B.W. Higman (2008)