If you choose to use packaged/dehydrated coconut in your recipes instead of the fresh fruit because you think opening the fruit at home is too much work, enjoy today’s post! I’ll explain how simple and quick it is, and what is more, in a classy way ;)
Young coconuts are less common to find, and I agree that these ones are harder to deal with. I prefer to enjoy this version when I am by the seaside.
The ripe coconut though, is easy to find in any supermarket, farmers market, grocery stores etc for great prices, with tender, sweet and fatty flesh. Also, without the disadvantages of buying the processed product: no additives, packages, sugar or defattening.
Let’s face the facts.First, the choice: when buying a ripe coconut, I shake it and pay attention to the sound in order to know if there is water inside. The drier the coconut, the less fresh it is.
It is interesting to check the shell. If it is thick – of course – it will be a bit harder to break.
Lastly, I look at the three hollows found on one of the sides. When they are more on the black side then o the brown, it might mean that the fruit is not so fresh, and perhaps it tastes rancid. If the cavities look like they are housing some fungi, then you can be sure it’s gone rancid.
After shopping, I get my coconut-opening tools: corkscrew and hammer.
One of those three hollows on the coconut’s top is soft enough to perforate with the corkscrew, the other two are hard as the fruit’s shell. After finding which is which, I drill the surface the same way I would remove the cork of a wine bottle, then placing the coconut over a cup to collect the water (tasty, wonderful, packed with minerals and micronutrients).
The next step is holding the coconut in one hand while hammering in small strokes with the other hand to loosen the pulp inside. After a few strokes you can notice the pulp is coming apart from the shell, and after a few more the shell cracks open. From this point on, there are a few methods to finish the job. Meaning, to separate the pulp that remains attached to the shell after cracking it.
One possibility, the most convenient one in my opinion, strictly speaking should no be recommended to others. That is my method of choice, though: I take a small blunt knife (a small metal spatula or spoon will serve too) and stick it between the pulp and the shell, moving till they come entirely apart.
It doesn’t look good to recommend this method because eventually the knife shifts and one can get hurt, even if it is blunt. Those who fell like it, take the risk. With some practice you get the hang of it, and it’s not an absurd anyway.
The second method is: after breaking the coconut in pieces, leave it in the refrigerator overnight in an uncovered dish or bowl. In this way, the pulp will dry and shrink a little, becoming loose from the shell.
The third: some people will place the broken coconut (or even the whole fruit before breaking the shell) directly over flames, and they swear the pulp comes apart from the shell super easy after that. When I tried it, I didn’t find it facilitated the process in any way. Perhaps I should have left it longer, I don’t know.
Anyway, after separating all the flesh from the shell, I quickly wash the coconut on running water to remove the shell residue that might be around. I allow for the fruit to drain the water and store in lidded bowls in the fridge. It will be fine for 10 days or so.
If you have hints, share in the comments!
I’ll be back soon – with a recipe that involves coconut, of course.