Coconut fibre also known as ‘coir’ is the fibrous material found between the hard, internal shell and the outer coat of the coconut. This natural fibre is extracted from the outer husk of coconuts and used in products such as floor mats, doormats, brushes and mattresses.
‘I read some-where that rope can be made from the fibres of the husk, do you know how they used to do it?’ – Soaking the husk in water, pounding them to separate the fibres then braiding together. These ropes were used in constructing canoes, building houses and making fishing nets.
When younger what else did families around you have in their homes made from coconut fibre? – Floor mats, doormats, brushes and mattresses.
– ‘Can you think of ways in which coconut husk chips can be used in the garden’? – Coconut husk chips was and still is used as a planting medium that help plants retain moisture and resist to fungal growth
Coconut trees are very versatile, as well as being able to eat the hard fruit, the coconut jelly and drink the milk, other parts of the nut and tree have domestic uses. Here is a typical scrubbing brush made from the thick outer husk of the coconut and were commonly used to clean board floors, followed by a vigorous shine generally using beeswax and at times candle wax.
- – When younger did you ever have one of these in your home?
– ‘Can you tell me what was it used for?’
– ‘Other than cleaning and polishing the board floors, what else was this brush used to clean’. – cleaning dishes, shoes …..
– ‘What about the coconut oil from the coconut, did your family ever use coconut oil for cooking?’
– How did they use to make coconut oil? – boiling the grated coconut, to separate the oil from the cream, sieving and then boiling again. From 12 coconuts one gets only 1 quart of coconut oil.
– ‘Other than cooking, what other ways was coconut oil used?’
– ‘Brush cleaning is one way the husk was used, what kind of things were the leaves of the coconut tree used for? – sleeping mats, the wattle for roofing and baskets.
Visit the Heritage Videos – ‘Old Time Jamaica on Show’, where Sonia highlights a wide range of household items from ‘Back in the Day’.