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How to Open a Coconut

Updated on January 15, 2011

The easiest way of cracking open a coconut

You don't have to be on a deserted tropical island in order to enjoy beautiful, fresh coconut water and flesh. The only trouble is, they can be little tricky to open - if you don't know how. Here's just a quick hub showing you the simple, three step process of how to open a coconut, as well as selection, consumption and storage tips.

Coconut Selection:

When buying coconuts:

  • Firstly, examine the outer surface for cracks, mould or mildew.
  • Look for round, dark brown husks (shells) which indicates the coconut is mature. Avoid the unripe, green outer shelled coconuts.
  • Select a coconut that is heavy for it's size, which indicates a good amount of flesh inside.
  • Shake the coconut and hear for a healthy sloshing of coconut water inside; it should sound full.

Opening the Coconut:

(1) Drain the Coconut Water:

On the end of each coconut are three small indentations - two of them a harder than the other. Using a hammer and nail or even a drill if neccessary, bore a sizeable hole in the softest of the cocnut's holes. Then carefully tip the coconut water into a glass, or just drink it up with a straw! (If you chose to drain the milk into a glass and none comes out, don't panic! you probably didn't buy a dud coconut - all you have to do is make a hole in the opposite end to allow the air to pass through).

(2) Cracking the Husk Open:

Make a score around the circumference of the coconut using a knife. Then, rap the coconut in a clean towel. Using a hammer, crack the coconut shell several times until it breaks. Being careful of shards of the shell, open the towel and ensure that all the coconut flesh is readily accessible.

(3) Scooping out the Flesh:

Using a spoon, scoop out all the coconut flesh into a bowl and discard of the husk safely. Rinse off the flesh to remove any coir (coconut hair).

Consuming the Coconut:

The water and flesh of the coconut is extremely delicious as well as totally nutricious! You can enjoy it fresh or use it in your cooking! I love to dice the coconut flesh and add some to the water for a frefreshing drink.

Coconut Storage:

Coconuts are best served fresh, although it can last for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. If you're looking at long term storage, it can be frozen for up to 6 months, and shredded and dehydrated for up to a year.

I hope you enjoyed learning how to open a coconut and that you enjoy this delicious fruit! Below is a short video on other methods on how to open a coconut.

How to Open a Coconut - Other Methods


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    • The Pink Panther profile image

      The Pink Panther 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Haha. Well whatever works to get out some of that coconut goodness!

    • natural cures gui profile image

      natural cures gui 6 years ago from Australia

      Aha! how I wish I had known about the score and tap method ... all those years of smashing with a hammer just so that I could sit and scrape out coconut chunk to chew on --- bliss and calorie burning effort in one go!

    • The Pink Panther profile image

      The Pink Panther 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Hey PegCole17, I've heard that method before too. Thanks for sharing and commenting!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      When we were kids living in the Keys we'd collect coconuts and try to sell them by the roadside. We tried a variety of ways to get them open - ended up with a hammer and screwdriver to pull off the brown husk. Not the most efficient method, but it worked.

    • The Pink Panther profile image

      The Pink Panther 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Hi Mark,

      I too agree that the whole coconut-opening ritual is ruined without a few rudimentary hoof-noises.

      Cheers :)

    • The Pink Panther profile image

      The Pink Panther 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      G'Day Linda,

      I'm sure your husband will be completely gobsmacked over your newfound coconut-opening skills! :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • The Pink Panther profile image

      The Pink Panther 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Hey Twilight Lawns,

      I've used your method several times, and I must say it is quite effective ;)

      Thanks for Commenting!

    • Mark Ewbie profile image

      Mark Ewbie 6 years ago from Euroland

      Can I just mention that if you use a hacksaw it is possible after a great deal of effort to end up with two similar halves of coconut shell in order to replicate the horse hoof noise as in the Python's Holy Grail.

      Although it was a time consuming, fraught and tedious exercise - about an hour with cleaning, sanding the edges and so on - I thought it was well worth it.

    • LyndaD profile image

      LyndaD 6 years ago

      The irony of this hub is that coconuts are on sale at a local grocery store. I said to my husband last night would you even know how to get into a coconut?!? I'm thinking I may buy one now and wow him! Thanks.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      I know the "make a hole in the soft hole" bit. That's easy. But I thought the next stage was to stand on the kitchen table and drop the coconut from as near the ceiling as possible onto the tiled floor (after first removing your dogs if they are prone to hysteria).

      Thanks for this new and less exciting method.

    • The Pink Panther profile image

      The Pink Panther 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I know what you mean Ivorwen. This technique is a little less messy, but i still love taking a machete to it sometimes ;)

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      I'll have to try this method next time I buy a coconut. Hammering a machete into one of the holes breaks it open, but is not very satisfactory!