By Dr.Yusra Hashim
Opening a coconut is not an easy task, but with certain techniques it becomes more doable.
opening a coconut procedure is different according to the age of the coconut, as it becomes more mature its shell becomes harder.
Young coconut has a softer shell so a strong and sharp knife could be enough to open it while the older coconut has a thicker and harder shell that needs extra tools and effort to open it.
Few important tips to buy a fresh coconut:
looking for the fresh coconut to buy is an important issue in order not to take it home and make the effort to open it then to find that it is rotten.
first observe its shell if there is a crack, leak, moist or mouldy spots. Notice the three spots, coconut eyes, if it is rotten or it is leaking its not the one you want.
If everything is okay from the outer side go to the next test, shake it to hear and feel the water splash inside the coconut, if you feel that it is empty it is better to put it back and take another one. if this test is positive as well so take it and enjoy the unique food from drinking the milk to preparing a delicious dishes from its products.
How to open a young coconut:
to open a young coconut is easier than the mature one. hold the coconut on a hard and rough surface use a big and strong knife to remove the fibrinous part of the shell around the top of the coconut, then make a stab opening around the top of the coconut, remove the cap, put your straw and drink the naturally filtered water and eat the tender meat by spoon through the same opening.
How to open a mature coconut:
To make the cracking a lot easier, draining the juice first is essential. This can be done by simply placing the coconut on a hard flat surface which is durable. You can make use of a sturdy cutting board.
There are three darker spots on one of the coconut pole, two of them look like the eyes because it is framed with a slight protrusion like eyebrows.The third one is the mouth which is the softer and the easiest to pierce spot.
Use a screwer or a screw driver to puncture two of the spots to make its water drain easier than piercing only one of them, turn the coconut upside down on a cup to drain all the fluid. You can now use it for cooking and drinking purposes.
This is the right time to open the coconut. Simply hold it onto your palm over a large bowl or a sink. You need to use a bowl since this will catch the extra juice once the coconut is already open. The seam which runs among the eyes can be used as your guide.
Follow the “seam” to the coconut equator and with the use of blunt edge not blade of heavy knife or a hammer, tap around the equator while you rotate the fruit in your palm. Continue tapping and rotating it until it is open completely. If you get it done right, with few turns, the coconut will break into equal halves. with the knife or using the coconut tool separate the coconut meat from the shell.Now you have the meat shred it into coconut flakes, make your coconut milk, or the coconut oil if you like.
This next technique is less favourable to me since it involves heating the coconut, However if you prefer this method I will not object since I have resorted to it many times.You put the coconut into the oven and the temperature on 350 degree for 15 minutes. the shell will crack easily and the meat will come of the shell automatically.
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