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Need a coconut lesson!

edited December 2010 in Food Preparation

After spending half an hour attempting to open a coconut (and then getting the coconut water full of shell debris), I’ve realized I’m in serious need of a coconut lesson. So many questions…What is the best kind of coconut to buy – I see ones with the shell and ones without in different stores – is there a difference? How do you open a coconut? How do you get the water out? What about the meat? Any tips on storage? Thanks!

Comments

  • i usually just saw mine open with a wood saw..its hard work but it works pretty well.. you can use a cleaver too, ive seen that work the easiest..

  • The ones you’re probably looking for are the Young/Thai Coconuts, which are usually white in color (as the outer skin has been removed), wrapped tightly in plastic, and have a flat base and a pointed top. they’re the same as the brown ones, only they haven’t matured as much, and they’re said to be far more nutritious. i find that the best way to open one is to set it on its side, and slice off the white fibrous layer along the pointed end (slicing at a downward angle away from my body) all the way around, until i can see most of the shell on the top (formerly pointed) side. you’ll then have a few scraps of skin (hopefully only from the coconut!) on the counter, but they can be thrown right in the compost. then i rest the coconut so the exposed shell is facing up, and give it one or two good whacks with the knife blade (don’t hold it in place with your other hand!), aiming at the same spot. i try not to hit so hard as to let the water leak out, but you’ll get a feel for that as you do it more. then i hit one or two more times along the cut i made to make a circle about 2” in diameter, and then just tear that section out with my hands. then i flip the coconut over and let the water drain into a bowl or blender, and use a spoon to separate the meat from the shell, with the back of the spoon touching the meat. this works extremely well with my roommate’s super-cheap large chef’s knife (with small serrations), but i plan to get a cleaver soon and see if that works even better. i’ve read that both the meat and the water will keep very well when frozen, but i’ve never needed to worry about that! good luck to ya…

  • Thanks for the advice!

    The ones you’re probably looking for are the Young/Thai Coconuts

    OK, so I think that I’ve been buying the wrong coconuts and this might explain some of my issues. I’ll look out for these and give it a try. Are they harder to find? I haven’t seen them at our local co-op.

  • You might do well to try any Asian or gourmet/upscale/otherwise-specialty-type markets in your area, and there are probably a number of places you can get them online. But if your co-op definitely doesn’t carry them, you should talk to the produce manager and see about getting them in regularly, as i’m sure there are other people near you who would be interested in seeing them as well.

  • I get my young coconuts at Whole Foods. They don’t have a lot of them, so grab what you can when you see them. You can freeze the meat and the milk for future use if you buy too many.

  • trinity082482, you have to try raw coconut. It is also addicting, yet good for you. It works great in smoothies and desserts. I love using it to make raw chocolate pudding, which tastes like the real thing. You can even put the pudding in an ice cream machine, transforming it into a decadent frozen treat.

  • check out this video!

    http://www.live-food.com/videos/how_to_open_a_c…

    it changed my life…

  • Thanks for posting the video – I’m definitely a visual learner and this is so much easier than everything I’ve been trying! And, now I am sure I was buying the wrong type of coconut because they look completely different.

  • http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/features/crack…

    Here is one that helped me with the type of coconut you have been getting (I think). I haven’t been able to find the young ones around here but I haven’t tried any asian markets either. You might have a better chance up in the Portland area.

  • Yes, those are definitely the ones I’ve been getting. Is one better for you than the other? What is the difference?

  • Before that video was up, I took my old meat tenderizer (wasn’t being used anymore) and smashed into the top to get a bit of a hole, and then sawed around the top with a sharp knife…and it came out wonderful. I was so excited.

    But what made me even happier was checking out a local oriental market. I used to go there for snacks and such, but since, they’ve increased their produce. I got the best bok choy and CHEAP young thai coconuts. Usually in the regular stores they are upwards of $4 and they are usually low on supply…but the oriental market had lots and they were only $1.40!! Oh, and they had the most delicious pineapple! So definitely check out the oriental markets!!

  • Does anyone know how to shred coconut from an old coconut? Most shredded coconut on the market has been heated unless it says it’s raw and the price of raw shredded cocunut here in Canada is insane! Would love your ideas.

  • You can buy an coconut shredder from Asian stores. I have one and I have to say it is sort of hard to use but is good at getting out all of the coconut. It is usually a wooden stick with a round grater type pieces on the end of it which scrapes the coconut out.

    Another way to it is to make sure you get the hard shell off the met part (put coconut in a bag and give it a good whack with a hammer) and than with the large coconut pieces that break off – you can peel off the brown “skin” parts with a a vegetable peeler.

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