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coconutExtracting the meat from a coconut is not as difficult as you may think. There are two ways to open a fresh coconut:

1. Clean the strands of husks from the coconut. Use the largest drill bit that will fit in the coconut’s eye that is below two coconut’s eyes, and twist by hand through the meat.
2. Drain the thin, fairly clear liquid into a bowl and smell or taste it. If it’s oily, or sour rather than sweet, the coconut is rancid and should be tossed out.
3. Bake the whole coconut in a shallow baking pan at 400°F until it cracks, about 20 minutes.
4. When it’s cool, wear gloves and goggles, wrap it in a towel and break it apart with a hammer.
5. Pry the flesh from the shell with a flat head screw driver or a sturdy grapefruit knife, and peel off the brown membrane with a vegetable peeler.
6. Rinse the coconut under cold water and dry.

Another way to crack open the coconut, is by using the back side of a meat cleaver. Wear gloves and goggles.
1. Look for the seam that runs between the “eyes”. Hold the shell with the eyes facing down.
2. Follow the seems around the coconut and hit the shell firmly about a third of the way down from the top.
3. Start with a light firm strike and increase until the shell cracks. Rotate the coconut slightly after each hit.
4. Once you have cracked the coconut all the way around, pull the two halves apart.

How to grate the coconut:
We prefer using the medium shredding disk of a food processor or the medium teardrop-shaped holes of a four-sided grater. After done grating, chill, covered, until ready to use, or freeze it.

or, use a coconut shredder, that looks a little like a meat grinder. You hold the coconut against the blade, and turns a crank, it grates the coconut very fine.

or, a Thai wood coconut scraper with stainless steel blade. You drag the blade along the coconut to create both long fine shreds as well as wider coconut curls.

How to choose fresh coconut:
1. Gently shake the coconut, to feel if there is liquid inside the coconut.
2. Make sure there are no signs of mold or mildew outside of the coconut, especially around the eyes.
3. Make sure there are no cracks on the coconut shells.

CAUTION!
* Never put a whole coconut in the oven without draining the coconut water first. It might explodes.
* When the coconut begins to crack it may pinch your skin when you hit the coconut. Be careful not to get any part of your hand caught in the crack.
* Coconut water stains!

Still not sure on how to open a fresh coconut? Watch the video.

Posted on Jul 28, 2009

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