It’s not very often I have my friends over while I work, but when I do, I take the opportunity for them to be my hand models, especially when I want to explain to both you and my friends how to crack a coconut. I recently shared a shot of the cracked coconuts on my Instagram and then shared it on my FB page, and I immediately felt judged for even tasting the water from older coconuts. Yes, I know people. Young coconuts yield better coconut water.
In Vietnam, seven-year-old Lisa would gleefully watch the street vendors hack off the tops of young coconuts and shove a straw inside. My mom would share the cooled, sweet coconut water with me and she’d help me scoop out the fresh coconut jelly-like meat inside, and I’d devour every bite with a slurp.
However, if you want coconut shavings or grated coconut, you need to crack open some of the older gents and pry out the fatty, fibrous white meat and do what you will with it.
There’s something so sexy about coconuts. When you pry em open, it’s just smooth and white inside, and you can’t help but feel like… well… you’ve got a handful of coconuts if you know what I mean ;)
I had never opened up these kinds of coconuts before, and the method I used is pretty easy and doesn’t require much skill. Although a friend of mine is married to a Cuban, and she says he can just hit the coconut against the concrete and it’ll magically split in half with a clean cut.
If only I were so skilled.
Luckily I had some help from a friend today, an awesome vegan trumpet player who is a natural at cracking coconuts. He was so awesome at being my hand model, I may have to recruit him more often.
He opened the coconut in slow mo for me to take some action shots, and he even waited for me to switch lenses because he’s a pro. You rock, Ben.
Have you tried to crack a coconut before? Have you ever used fresh shaved coconut? Or just the store-bought stuff? I can’t wait to show you what I make with it on Saturday =) It’s gonna be goooooood!
Pretty much everything I know about how to crack a coconut is learned from David Lebovitz, chef, writer, blogger extraordinaire. Go check out his post on coconuts because he’s amazing.
- To crack the coconut, firmly rap the back of the knife around the middle of the coconut. Rotate and continue to hit the coconut until it cracks. You'll stop hearing the hollow sound from striking the coconut and immediately hear a soft thud instead. It may start leaking after that initial crack even though you aren't able to split it quite yet, continue hitting around until the brown shell is completely split.
- Pull coconut apart, empty the liquid into a bowl. You can strain and drink it, but depending on the freshness of the coconut, it may not taste that great. Stick to young coconut water if you want good tasting coconut water.
- Preheat the oven to 400F, and place coconuts on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until you see the whites pull from the sides of the brown shell. Remove from oven, let cool, then use a sturdy butter knife to pry the coconut meat from the shell.
- Use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to scrape off the outside membrane until all you're left with is the white coconut meat.
- You can peel into flakes or grate depending on what you want to do with the coconut.