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Copra Farming & Process

Making copra – removing the shell, breaking up, drying – is usually done where the coconut palms grow. Copra can be made by smoke drying, sun drying, or kiln drying. Sun drying requires little more than racks and sufficient sunlight.

Halved nuts are drained of water, and left with the meat facing the sky; they can be washed to remove mold-creating contaminants. After two days the meat can be removed from the shell with ease, and the drying process is complete after three to five more days (up to seven total). Sun drying is often combined with kiln drying, eight hours of exposure to sunlight means the time spent in a kiln can be reduced by a day and the hot air the shells are exposed to in the kiln is more easily able to remove the remaining moisture.

This process can also be reversed, partially drying the copra in the kiln and finishing the process with sunlight. There are advantages and disadvantages to both – starting with sun drying requires careful inspection to avoid contamination with mold while starting with kiln-drying can harden the meat and prevent it from drying out completely in the sun. In India, small but whole coconuts can be dried over the course of eight months to a year, and the meat inside removed and sold as a whole ball. Meat prepared in this fashion is sweet, soft, oily and is cream-colored instead of being white. Coconut meat can be dried using direct heat and smoke from a fire, using simple racks to suspend the coconut over the fire.

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