Friday, November 11, 2011

How I Open a Young Coconut

A word or two to begin...Every young coconut (sometimes called baby or Thai coconuts) is different. When my son took these photos of me opening one recently, it happened to have a lot of coconut meat and only about 1 cup of coconut "water". Usually I get thinner coconut meat and more "water", about 2 cups worth. So keep this in mind, especially if you've never opened a young coconut before.

There are many uses for young coconut meat (or "flesh") and it's liquid or "water". I will have a good use for this demo because of the next recipe I intend to share with you to use the meat. The water in it can be used for many of which is green smoothies (of course!). I am just touching the tip of the iceberg with the many things you can do with fresh coconut. And I'm just thinking of the raw uses.

So gather your tools...mine on this day were a cutting board (with cloth underneath to keep it in place), cleaver, mallet, a smaller knife, and a 2 cup measuring cup for the water... and a young coconut.

Ready to go!

I make 4 cuts in a square shape centered around the top "tip". I always leave the plastic wrap packaging on.

When the cuts are sufficient, you should be able to lift off a "cap".

Usually when you get this far, the liquid will start to run out some.

As you can see, my coconut "cap" came off without the meat attached to it.

Here I am cutting a small opening for the liquid to get the liquid out.

It's a thick one this time.

Getting my measuring cup handy, I pour in all the liquid, a total of 1 cup.

After the liquid is out, I make another deep cut with the cleaver to split the whole thing in two.

I'm pulling the two halves apart after another deep cut down the middle. This will make it easier to get the meat out.

This is very thick meat. This is why so little liquid came out.

Using a spoon, scraping the meat out. Sometimes turning it the other way also yields good results. Try both ways.
Ideally, your white coconut meat will separate from the dark brown "skin", but sometimes you have to take it off by hand. The meat will not always come off in this big of a piece, but each time is different.      

After this point you will want to have a bowl nearby to put your coconut pieces in. I would add that a swish in filtered water will get rid of any husk still clinging to the meat and while doing that you can further clean off any dark brown "skin" by removing them by hand.

Now you've got coconut "water" and "meat" ready for your recipes. Things like coconut milk, for starters...not to mention eating the meat fresh, as is, and drinking the liquid straight up...especially good if you've kept them chilled like you should - yum!


John David said...

Coconuts must not cost $5 ea. in Ohio. :)

Loretta said...

I can get young coconuts for about $2-2.50 in a store's funny though, the smaller brown mature coconuts are usually twice this price here.

For this to work, you need to buy the young coconuts that are surrounded by a white husk. Only the outer green shell has been taken off.

Three years ago, I wrote about Ghana's foods (

The second to last picture shows someone trimming (with machete) a young coconut for us to drink out the liquid and then split it again for us to get the meat out and eat it fresh. Yum! And that only cost us about 30-35 US cents for the whole deal...straw included! =)

John David, I suppose anything produce wise, might be a bit more expensive in Alaska! Good to hear from you again. Hope all is well.