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The Best Way to Crack Open a Coconut

It’s time to conquer the coconut! Here’s how to get all that sweet water and meat in just a few easy steps.

cut coconut peeler
Photography by: Emily Kate Roemer

It seems that coconut water is still all the rage these days, but the store-bought, pasteurized version can get pretty pricey. Why not try making your own? It’ll have a richer coconut flavor, and as a bonus, you’ll get all that delicious meat inside that's perfect for cooking and baking. Both tasks are much easier than they look -- just follow our test kitchen’s top tips and tricks.

 

To Extract the Water

coconut screwdriver
Photography by: Emily Kate Roemer

1. Locate the three “eyes” at the stem end of the coconut. Use a screwdriver to test which one is the softest, then pierce.

hands holding coconut bowl water
Photography by: Emily Kate Roemer

2. Invert the coconut over a bowl or glass and shake if necessary. Once you get all the water out, move on to the meat!

To Extricate the Meat

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the hard outer shell begins to crack. Remove coconut and set aside until cool enough to handle.

 

2. Wrap coconut in a kitchen towel; holding coconut with one hand, tap it with the back of a cleaver or chef’s knife, or hit it with a hammer, in the same place several times, then pry open.

 

3. Separate coconut meat from the shell with a spoon. Remove the brown skin with a vegetable peeler, if desired, then shred, grate, or chop the meat.

 

And what to do with the meat? Check out our favorite fresh coconut recipes.

 

 

Watch our Kitchen Conundrums expert Thomas Joseph break down the techniques above, as well as demonstrate how to handle young green coconuts:

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