Jenny's Raw Recipe Blog

Don’t Go Nuts Opening a Coconut

Posted on July 08 2013 | (0) Comments

Fresh young coconut meat has a texture, natural sweetness, and even color that is remarkably similar to dairy cream. That's why it's such a star in raw food recipes. The trick is getting to that tender, delicious meat hidden inside a tough outer shell. Let me show you how easy it is to get the upper hand on a coconut so you can use it in your raw food recipes.

Young coconuts, sometimes labeled "Thai young coconuts" get their name because they are harvested after just six to nine months, rather than after a year when they are fully mature. Because of their youth, they lack the brown husk of older coconuts, and the absence of the husk makes it that much easier to get at the tasty flesh.

The Right Raw Food Tool

At first glance, it may seem like an impossible task to cut into a coconut. Oddly shaped and solid, it appears to be impenetrable. But all you need to get in there is a good cleaver. There are a number of good cleavers on the market. My personal favorite is the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 7-Inch Vegetable Cleaver. It's sharp and well-balanced, and it isn't as heavy as many larger cleavers can be.

How to Open a Young Coconut in 5 Steps

In the video, you can watch me open a young coconut in just a few easy steps:

Step 1 - Lay the coconut on its side on a cutting board.

Step 2 - Using your cleaver, shave off the outer layer of the cone until the brown inner shell is showing.

Step 3 - Strike the cone with the cleaver approximately 2" from the cone's point. The cleaver blade should lodge in the shell but should not cut the top off (or you'll spill the water inside).

Step 4 - With one hand on the coconut and one on the embedded cleaver, lift up the coconut and cleaver simultaneously, and then bang the coconut down on the board hard enough to produce a deep cut.

Step 5 - Turn the coconut upright and set it on the cutting board. Pull off the top of the cone with your fingers, being careful not to spill any coconut water.

Success! Your young coconut is now ready to yield its flesh and liquid.

Extracting the Coconut-y Goodness

First carefully pour the coconut water into a bowl or jar. Coconut water is wonderfully sweet and full of vitamins. You can drink it "straight up" or mix it with other juices to make wonderful combination beverages.

Next, scoop out the meat from the underside of the coconut's top using a large spoon. Finally, to get at the meat within the main body of the coconut, turn the spoon over and gently insert its edge between the shell and the meat. Simply proceed down into the coconut, scooping all around until the meat is extracted.

Whole young coconuts can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks; the meat will keep for two months in the freezer. You can identify coconut meat that has gone past its prime when the flesh begins to look yellow rather than creamy white.

In my next post, I'll reward you for your efforts to learn how to open young coconuts. I'm going to share my recipe for a vegan Pastry Cream with everyone's favorite ingredient: coconut meat!

How do you like to enjoy coconut? In granola? On your fingers? Share your thoughts in the comments section to inspire my readers.

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