Would you care for a San Blas Toddy or a Macaroon?
Every San Blas island should be flying a flag with a coco palm on it. It would be difficult to find any other Rorschach like symbol that so quickly makes you think of the South Sea Islands. We’ve all dreamed of lounging beneath a palm tree, gazing at the surreal blue ocean and sipping some exotic drink from a coconut shell.
Many think the coconut is a Native American, but it was probably brought, or some think floated, to the New World at some unknown but rather recent date. Current anthropological research dates charred coconut found in the Cook Islands to 6000 BCE, long before humans landed. Spanish records state that coconuts were already in San Blas, Panama when they arrived. Coconuts probably reached America as “floaters” or with some ancient sea voyagers blown off course – your choice!
But few would ever think of the San Blas coconut as an economic giant. Well surprisingly enough the coconut, although it’s sort of a grass, is considered the single most useful “tree” on Earth. Even though they don’t produce wood the stems are composed of bundled strong fibers that can be used in a variety of ways.
A coconut supplies as much protein as a quarter pound of beef and is well known in its shredded and sweetened guise. Its oil is the third most consumed type globally, and the water from a few coconuts can keep a shipwrecked pilgrim alive indefinitely. The San Blas coconut is used to make candy, bakery goods, shampoos, soaps, lotions, and synthetic rubber and you can even make a fermented beverage called “toddy”.
The outer trunk is used for homes and furniture. The husk (coir) is used to make water resistant ropes for rigging on ships and when pulverized potting soil for plants. Coconut charcoal is a major component of the best air, water, and gas filters. It has been estimated that the coconut palm has more uses than any other plant on Earth. So come to San Blas and see for yourself, you’ll never forget it.