Knowing how to open a coconut properly can mean that, not only will you keep your fingers, but you may survive being stranded in a tropical location. This ‘how to’ shows you how.
1- Get to know your coconut. What do you have before you? Is it just the brown hairy nut or does it still have the green, smooth husk on it? Coconuts that you buy in Western shops will already have had their husks removed, however ones that you find on the beach or in tress will be in their protective green outer shell. Any young husked coconuts that are green won’t offer the white flesh, but it will provide you with a tastey and very easily accessible drink.
2- Getting milk out of a green coconut. Learning to climb a coconut tree will provide you with fresh and young coconuts (the younger the coconut, the less strong the taste). Watch a video on youtube about how to climb a coconut tree. Don’t drop the coconut from too great a height as otherwise it will split. To get out the milk, as the nut has yet to develop, all you have to do is to carve a deep hole through the husk. Use a sharp knife to carve a deep triangle through it at the pointiest part of the husk that you can find (to ensure easy pouring).
3- Getting at the nut in a mature, husked coconut. This is the toughest of jobs to carry out regarding getting at a coconut. The best way is to use a sharp iron bar, or a sharpened, strong, heavy piece of wood. Burry a large proportion of the stick in the ground for stability and to make sure that it will go nowhere. Fix it at a slight angle with the sharp end pointing upwards. Hold the coconut horizontally with your left and right hands holding the top and the bottom. Attempt to skewer the coconut so that the pointy stick pierces on the underside of one of the ridges, and then lift it away from the nut inside. Once the stick is clearly in the correct position, lever off of it to peel away the husk. Be careful not to place too much weight downwards as should the coconut slip you may end up skewering yourself. Keep levering and rotating to lift the husk away from the nut.
4- Removing the milk from the nut. If you look at the brown nut you will see bowling ball shaped little holes. These are the softest part of the nut and the easiest access to the milk. A cork screw will work fine for working through these holes, alternatively you can just poke at them with a screw driver. You will need to pierce through 2 holes in order for the pressure to be relieved and for the milk to flow.
5- Getting at the nut flesh. Once you’ve removed the precious milk, there’s nothing to stop you from going caveman style on it. Drop it from a height, smash it with a hammer, or throw it against a wall. Shards will fly off so be careful! If you want to do it in a more controlled manner, crack it with controlled conviction along the ridge with a heavy blunt object such as the back of a heavy knife. Follow the ridge around until the coconut is halved.
Burry your prying rod deep into the ground. If you’re using a thick stick, make it as sharp as you can with your knife.