Coconuts can be found all over Bali, and there are many ways to use this versatile plant. The young coconuts are full of a nutrient rich juice that is refreshing as well as healthy. Older coconuts are the base for grated coconut which is a main ingredient in many Balinese treats, and is also used to make coconut oil. My brother and sister in law make coconut oil for a living, so while I was in the village for the ceremony, I found out exactly how this is done.
The image on the top of this post is of the pile of coconuts that are heaped up outside their house. They purchase these in bulk, and rip the outer shell off using a metal stake. Inside, is the core, and this is grated, and then soaked in water, and pressed to get the milk. This is then repeatedly boiled in a large pan, over an open fire, until the oil separates from the milk. The kindling for the fire consists of the coconut husks, so nothing goes to waste:
Once the oil separates from the milk, the oil is taken, and boiled some more, until it is just right. It is then poured in to bottles and taken to the market to sell.
Coconut oil can be used in a variety of ways. The Balinese like to use it on their hair and skin to keep them looking young and their hair silky smooth. They also use it for cooking, which infuses their food with a wonderful coconut flavor. In the west there have been many studies on the benefits of coconut oil, and it has been found that it can help with losing weight, by reducing fat, slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, improve blood cholesterol levels and kill bacteria. All that while tasting great at the same time!