If I wanted to know how to open a coconut, the best place to go would be Hawaii. I’ve traveled to the Maui Tropical Plantation to see how the experts do the job.
My tour guide, Mina is an expert, she knows everything about coconuts. Actually, they’re not a nut, they’re a fruit. They’re also “self-harvesting”. This means that you shouldn’t stand or park your car under a full coconut tree.
Coconuts can weigh 50 pounds, and when they decide they’re ripe, they fall from 50 feet or more above. More people are killed by falling coconuts than shark attacks in Hawaii, Mina tells me.
The coconut has a thick fiberous outer husk that must be removed first. The Hawaiian way to open a coconut is to thrust it onto a sharpened stick or metal spike secured to a table. A prying motion eventually removes all the outer husk to be discarded.
What remains looks a lot more like a coconut that you’d see in a grocery store. It’s the size of a grapefruit and has a hard woody outer shell. There are also three small circles at one end of the fruit, Mina calls them eyes.
Of the three eyes, one is soft enough to plunge a knife or screwdriver into so that you can drain the coconut water inside.
Then, a sharp blow with a rock or a hammer will open the coconut, revealing the bright white meat inside. Mina advises that to remove the meat from the shell, freeze and defrost the coconut halves. The expansion and contraction of the coconut meat will free it from the shell.
What should I make with fresh coconut? What’s your favorite coconut dish? Leave a comment below:
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