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.
A great source of vitamins and nutrients, coconut water is a favorite drink for a reason—not to mention it's incredibly refreshing. But buying the store-bought, pasteurized versions can get pricey, so why not try making your own? It'll have a richer coconut flavor, and, as an added 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.
How to Extract the Water
First, locate the three "eyes" at the stem end of the coconut. Then use a screwdriver to test which one is the softest before piercing. Next, invert the coconut over a bowl or glass and shake if necessary to get all of the water out. Once it's empty of liquid, it's time to move on to extracting the meat. Full of vitamins and minerals, it's a step you don't want to skip.
How to Extricate the Meat
Removing the meat from the coconut might seem like an involved process, but it's actually quite simple. Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Then place the coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the hard outer shell begins to crack. Remove the coconut and set it aside until it's cool enough to touch. Next, wrap the coconut in a kitchen towel; holding 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 before prying it open. Separate the coconut meat from the shell with a spoon. Finally, remove the brown skin with a vegetable peeler, if desired, then shred, grate, or chop the meat and enjoy.
Watch our Kitchen Conundrums expert Thomas Joseph break down the techniques above, as well as demonstrate how to handle young green coconuts: