Shant­­­­hi K.,  Hemalatha G., Selvi J.,Vijayalakshmi R.  and Meenakshi V.



Coconut is a crop of commercialsignificance, since it plays an important role in the economy of the countryand on the daily life of our people.  Itis a major source of employment, income generation and food.  The economy of the coconut-processing sectoris mainly dependent on the copra and coconut oil and on desiccated coconut to alesser extent.  Owing to low income fromtraditional products such as mature nut, copra, coconut oil, productdiversification for value added products is one approach that could increasefarmer income.  Tender coconut water is arefreshing drink, safe, pleasant and readily available.  It is popular and more demand during thesummer.  Tender coconut, which was a footpath commodity till recently, has now got recognition as a nutritious naturalbeverage.  Tender coconut can beprocessed and packed for marketing as a soft drink or nutritious health drinkand nutritious food.  The processingtechnologies available are packed tender coconut water, canning of tenderkernel, sports drink and snow ball tender coconut.

Kew words:  Tender coconut water, kernel, snow balltechnology, canning



The word coco is derived from Spanishword 'Macoco' which refers to three holes on coconut that resemble the face ofan ape.  Coconut production in India is 16413’(000metric tonnes million nuts with an area of 2097.00 (‘000 hectares) during 2017- 2018.  In India, about 60 percent ofthe total coconut production is used for edible purpose, 3.5 percent as tendercoconut, 35 percent as milling copra for oil extraction and the balance isprocessed into the products like desiccated coconut.  Desiccated coconut   powder is mainly used for   preparation of many south Indian curries /dishes.  Even though India is the largestcoconut producing country, none of its products other than coir figure in theexport list to any significant level. Therefore, for faster development of coconut industry and to ensure goodprice to the farmer, product diversification and by-product utilization areutmost important.


Composition of tender coconut (Table1.)

The tender coconut is valued both forthe sweet water and the delicious gelatinious kernel it contains.  Sugars form an important constituent of thetender coconut water.  The concentrationof sugars in the water steadily increases from about 1.5 percent to 5.0 to 5.5percent in the early months of maturation and then slowly falls reaching about2 percent at the stage of full maturity of the nut.    In the early stages of maturity, sugars are in the forms ofglucose and fructose and sucrose (non-reducing sugar) appears only in laterstages which increases with the maturity while the reducing sugars falls.  The ideal stage for harvesting coconut fordrinking is at 7-8 months from pollination. At this stage, nut water has themaximum concentration of invert sugars, low concentration of sucrose, optimumlevels of minerals, vitamins and a neutral pH.

Table 1.  Composition of tender coconut water andkernel


Tender coconut kernel

Tender coconut water

Moisture (g)



Protein (g)



Fat (g)



Carbohydrates (g)



Ash (g)



Energy (k. cal)









Vitamin C






Calcium (mg)



Phosphorus (mg)



Iron (mg)



Sodium (mg)



Potasium (mg)



Magnesium (mg)



Copper (mg)



Phosphorus (mg)



Sulphur (mg)



Chloride (mg)




Ranasinghe and Wimalasekara (2006)stated that tender king coconut water has a total sugar content of 5.69/100 mlof which 95-97 percent are invert sugars. Tender coconut water (100 ml) contains 2-3 g glucose, 2-3 g fructose,and 0.1 – 0.3 g sucrose.  Potassium, themost abundant mineral accounts for more than 50 percent of the mineral matterin tender coconut water.  It contains1900-2500 ppm calcium and 45-55 ppm magnesium, vitamins (C & B) as well asaminoacids (mainly arginine and glutamine) are also present.


Therapeutic value of tender coconutkernel and water

Tender coconut water which is arefreshing drink, possesses many therapeutic properties.  Tender coconut can be safely used as asubstitute to normal saline in dehydration caused by various gastro-intestinaldisorders such as diarrhoea, malabsorption etc. A tender coconut of average size contains about 300 ml of water and assuch a drink can supply 72 kcal.  Tendercoconut water is a cheaper and better drink than the widely used pleasant softdrinks, which ordinarily supply about 40 kcal per 100 ml.  The lower calorie value of tender coconutwater is suitable for those who prefer low-calorie drinks.  The use of green coconut water can berecommended in diseased conditions where an easily usable fluid rich inpotassium but poor in sodium is required. Children with oedematous protein energy malnutrition suffer from severepotassium depletion but sodium retention. Tender coconut water is an ideal and convenient fluid for suchchildren.  However, when diarrhoea ispresent sodium loss occurs and an appropriate rehydration solution shouldcontain adequate sodium.  Rich inpotassium and poor in sodium tender coconut water appears to be eminentlysuitable for patients with cirrhosis of the liver or hypertension or treatmentwith diuretics causing urinary potassium loss.


As tender coconut water containsmagnesium, it is also useful in magnesium deficiency.  It is however unsuitable in chronic renalfailure in view of its potassium and magnesium contents.  Tender coconut water is also used as one ofingredient in many of the ayurvedic preparations.


Varieties (or) palms suitable fortender coconut

Nuts of dwarf palms such as ChowghatDwarf Orange, Chowghat Dwarf Green, Malayan Yellow Dwarf, Malayan Orange Dwarfand Gangabondom are suitable for use in the tender stage.  The climatic condition, soil condition andthe genetical characters are found to influence the chemical composition of nutwater.            Tender coconut has marketthrough out the country as a health drink.


Value addition in tender coconut

Tender coconut water can be processedand packed for marketing as a soft drink and nutritious health drink.  The processing technologies available aregiven below.


FAO Technology

FAO has patented a technology forbottling tender coconut water and marketing it as a sports drink.  The process uses microfiltration technologyin which the water is modified to approximate value of the vitamins and energy contentof major sports drinks.


Snow ball tender coconut (SBTN)

It is a globular tender kernel withouthusk, shell and testa, which is in ball shape and snow white in colour.  It contains delicious soft kernel withnutritious sweet water inside.  It isalso known as egg coconut in Malaysia. Snow ball tender coconut is removal of husk of 7.8 month mature coconutin which the tender kernel thickness should be about 2-3 mm, making groove inthe shell without breaking the kernel and then scooping out the shell.  Making groove in the shell before scoopingout the tender kernel with water is one of the important unit operation.  For making the groove in the shell, a machinehas been developed by CPCRI, Kasaragod. By using this machine any unskilled person can make a snow ball tendercoconut in 5 minutes.  On an average,about 500-snow ball can be produced by two labourers.


Packed tender coconut water

The optimum harvesting stage of tendercoconuts for this purpose is around six months as tender coconut water attainsits optimum level of quality in respect of flavour, taste and yield.  Characteristic flavour of the tender coconutwater is heat sensitive and hence partial heat treatment combined withpreservative is employed.  Sometimessweeting agents are added to obtain uniform taste and optimum level ofacceptability.  The product is wellacceptable upto a period of three months under ambient conditions and about sixmonths under refrigerated conditions. The flavour retention is better in the case of aluminium cans thanflexible pouches.


Canning of tender kernel

Themost suitable stage of coconut maturity for canning of tender coconut kernel is7-8 months.  The tender kernel is cutinto strips of about 6 cm long and 2 cm width. The kernel strips are put into cans, covered with hot syrup, exhaustedat 80oC, sealed and processed. The pressurized processing can be avoided by addition 0.3 – 0.4 percentcitric acid to the covering syrup of 30-40o B TSS (total solublesolid content).  By adding ascorbic acid@ 100 mg/100g, the quality of the product in terms of colour, flavour andacceptability can be increased upto 6 months under ambient conditions.  Addition of antioxidant (0.02 percent) isalso beneficial for the quality of the canned products during storage.



Tendercoconut water is a good source of ready energy, potassium and fair amounts ofcalcium, phosphorus and magnesium and traces of a few other minerals andvitamins.  Despite its abundantnutritional benefits of tender coconut, the consumption has been low.  With health consciousness amongconsumers  this is the right time topromote our traditional natural health drink tender coconut.  The waterfrom the tender coconut can be concentrated and canned in tetra packs forexport as well as domestic purpose. Various methods can be explored for the concentration of its waterkeeping in view of the flavour, colour and nutritive value.



Authors are from Department of Food Science andNutrition,

CommunityScience College and Research Institute,

TamilNadu Agricultural University







Kalloo, G., Reddy, B.M.C., Tandon, D.K., Singh, M.D.,Pandey, B.K. and Verma, Anil Kumar. 2005. Post Harvest Management and Value Addition in Horticultural Crops, pub.CISH, Lucknow. 68.p.

Markose V.T, Sree Kumar Poduval (2009) Processing and valueaddition of coconut, Coconut Development Board, India Ohler J.G (1999) ModernCoconut  Management, FAO, Rome

Neka, P. 2006. Appropriate processing technologies for value addition in coconut. Indian Coconut Journal. 39(3): 11-20.

Ranasinghe, C.S. and Wimalasekara, R. 2006. Technicalguidelines to enhance shelflife of tender king coconut for the exportmarket.  Indian Coconut Journal. 37 (7): 17-19.

Rethinam, P., Sreekumar Poduval, Nandakumar, 2002.  Coconut products, Coconut Development Board,Ministry of Agriculture, Kochi-11.

Shree Padre, 2006. Tender coconuts break into corporate offices.  IndianCoconut Journal. 37(7): 13-15.