This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Of all the gifts which bountiful nature has bestowed on the inhabitants of the tropics, this, perhaps, is the most valuable, and cer-tainly the one most fitting them for a paradisiacal state of idleness. What other fruit is there in which, as in the Cocoa-nut, we find a refreshing beverage contained in a cool limpid state in a nutritions pulp of-the consistence of blanc-mange, and as agreeable to the taste? In a young nut, the lining pnlp of which was thin and almost of gelatinous softness, the quantity of contained fluid ex-; ceeded rather half a pint. It was quite clear, as much so as spring water, pleasantly, slightly sweet, of specific gravity 10188. The pnlp was rendered brown by the tincture of iodine. No starch particles could be detected in it under the microscope, nor oil globules. The water of a ripe Cocoa-nut, much less in quantity and nearly transparent, was of the specific gravity 10203. It did not become turbid on boiling, or by the addition of acetic or nitric acid. Sugar, it may be inferred, was its principal ingredient The lining pulp was found to consist of 86 per cent solid matter and of 64 water, as determined by thorough drying. As is well known, it abounded in oil. I could detect in it no starch particles.
In composition, I believe it to be very like the ripe almond. The emulsion it makes is equal to that of the almond, and is an excellent substitute for milk for tea. The Cocoa-nut Palm, 1 may add, thrives best by the seashore; it thrives even within high-water mark. Viewed in this light, may it not be con* sidered as designated by a kind Providence to yield a drink in situations in which springs of fresh and wholesome water are often not to be found. It is only the traveller in such regions who can justly appreciate its value, and be sufficiently thankful for such a blessing. In Ceylon, the natives are in the habit of putting a portion of salt into the ground when they plant the nut, so convinced are they that salt is required for its successful growths - Da. Davy, in the Edin. New Philosophical Journal.