THAI COCONUT A B C ‘s
A THAI COCONUT is normally picked when young before it is fully matured. Because it is picked young, the meat inside is smooth and soft and the water is light and sweet. We have all seen them in the store wrapped in plastic in the organic produce section, yet I always wondered–“What do I do with that?” Most of the time, the white husk is still left intact and is cut into a cone shape on top thus making it very alien and unappealing. I took the chance, bought one and I was very pleased with what I ended up. Since it was hard to find any information on the internet on how to open one of these bad boys, I decided to write up a quick tutorial with pictures so you can easily get to the good stuff.
A little about coconuts: Coconuts not a true nut, they are a fruit. Like other fruits, it has three layers: the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The exocarp and mesocarp make up the “husk” of the coconut. Coconuts sold in the shops of nontropical countries often have had the exocarp (outermost layer) removed. The mesocarp is composed of a fiber, called coir, which has many traditional and commercial uses. The shell has three germination pores (stoma) or “eyes” that are clearly visible on its outside surface once the husk is removed. Coconuts are full of vitamins and minerals along with natural healthy fats. In testing, virgin coconut oil has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Coconut oil not only is used in cooking but can be used as a natural moisturizer for skin and hair. The coconut water is a main base for many sports drinks and can be consumed straight from the fresh coconut without any processing (which is recommended). I have found that I get about 16 ounce or 2 cups of water and 2 cups of coconut meat from 1 coconut. I am excited about this because a whole organic coconut runs on average about $2.50 at my local store. If I add up the cost to purchase 16 ounces of coconut water and 2 cups of fresh coconut meat, I save about $5.00 each time I buy a fresh whole one and crack it open myself. Besides, when I do it myself, I know that there are no added chemicals, preservatives or sugar to the ingredients. I also know the freshness of the ingredients and do not wonder how long they have been sitting around or removed from their natural state.
To open a Thai coconut is pretty simple, just kind of messy. I will now describe to you how to open one and have included some pictures below on the process…
- Unwrap your coconut from any plastic wrap. On a large flat surface, place a wet cloth down and set your coconut on it with the peak up, this will prevent it from slipping.
- With a large sharp knife, start half way down the side of the coconut husk and make cuts downward at an angle to remove the husk into strips.
- Continue all the way around the coconut, it will take several passes to start to get to the hard shell.
- With a smaller knife, remove the white husk from the top and bottom of the coconut all the way down to the shell. On top of the coconut the “eyes” will appear. Use the tip of the small knife to find the soft spots in the eyes, you will be able to easily pierce a hole into the inside of the coconut.
- Use a skewer or something thin to poke all the way through to the inside. Drain the water into a separate bowl or large 4 cup measuring cup, drink or refrigerate in a covered container for up to 2 days.
- Lay your coconut on its side on the wet cloth and gently score the shell around the middle (like a waist band) with the blade of your knife. Gently tap this score mark with the handle of your knife all the way around multiple times until it cracks. Insert your knife tip into the crack and gently pry open while making quick cut motions down toward the other side. BE CAREFUL NOT TO SLIP OR CUT YOURSELF!! If you do it slowly, all should be good.
- Use a melon baller and scoop out all the meat into a separate bowl. Eat now or refrigerate in a covered container for up to 2 days.
- Wash out your shell halves well, be sure that all of the meat is removed, and use as a display bowl for salads or dishes now. If you are going to use at a later date or as part of a craft, wash out well and allow to dry for 72 hours at room temperature.
Now that you know the basics, I say go out and get yourself a Thai Coconut and give it a try yourself. Still not sure how to eat it? Here are the links to a couple of my favorite recipes that use Thai Coconut in them, just click on the pictures to go to the recipes….. ENJOY!
-COCONUT BOWL TIKI SALAD-
-PINA COLADA SMOOTHIE-
-FRUITY CATERPILLAR ROLL-