Coconut Development

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Coconut fruits are borne and mature year-round. At around four months, the nut fills with liquid; at five, it reaches its full size and begins to develop a jelly-like meat; at seven its shell begins to harden, and it’s mature at a year. Immature coconuts, around five to seven months old, offer their own pleasures: a sweet liquid called coconut water (about 2% sugars); and a moist, delicate, gelatinous meat that’s mainly water, sugars and other carbohydrates. In the mature coconut of 11–12 months, the liquid has become less sweet and less abundant, and the meat has become firm, fatty, and white. The meat is about 45% water, 35% fat, 10% carbohydrate, 5% protein.