My husband and brother-in-law used sharp knives to cut/brake through the outer shells of the coconuts.
*It's best to cut the coconut over a bowl so that when the liquid starts to come out, you have something to catch it with.
Start by using the back of a heavy knife to hit the coconut, turning it every 2 inches or so, hitting it again, turning it and hitting it again until you hear or see it crack open. Then, pry it open over the bowl (so you catch the water). Placing the heavy (durable) knife into the cracked opening and twisting it gently to pry the coconut open works well.
Drain the rest of the water out of the coconut into the bowl for later use.
First, use your hands to peel the brown coconut fibers/hairs off of the outside. This is messy! Then, using a vegetable peeler, peel the hard outer shell off the coconut leaving only the white flesh.
Once the hairs and outer shell of the coconut are peeled away you can get creative. Here are some options:
1. Using the vegetable peeler, peel large chunks off the coconut to dehydrate in a food dehydrator. Sprinkle with sugar to sweeten.
2. Puree the flesh and freeze in batches of your desired consistency to use in smoothies, to make coconut sorbet (combine coconut, ice cubes, honey/sugar in a Vitamix or Blender until smooth), etc.
3. Do what I did...
I used my food processor to grate some, and then shred some to store for future use in the freezer. I packed it in freezer safe zip-lock bags labeled with how much was in each bag (i.e. 1 cup). I'll use these later in smoothies, to make sorbet, pancakes and also in cakes and cupcakes.
I also put some shredded coconut onto a baking dish and toasted it in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. To give it that sweet taste, I sprinkled it with Stevia, but you can also use powdered sugar. I then stored that in a zip-lock bag in the cupboard.
The coconut water we drank plain. So yummy! You can also store it in the refrigerator to use later in smoothies. I also found other interesting ways to use coconut water while searching the web.
While preparing a coconut takes a bit of work, it's fun and such a great way to save money and prepare delicious food for your family!
P.S. Don't forget to tell us how it goes and what you created with it!
My family and I live in Florida while the rest of my extended family are scattered around the United States. That can make it extremely difficult for all of us to be in the same location at the same time. This year it was my turn to host what we have lovingly deemed “ThanksMas”. It’s rare that we can all get together for one or both of the actual holidays so we meet when we can somewhere in the middle when the cost of flights decreases a bit and it makes more sense for everyone’s busy holiday schedules. The only one missing this year was the other half of Spicy, Trish, and her family. When that happens, Skype plays a large role in the festivities.
If you’ve ever lived in or visited a tropical location with palms, you’ve probably noticed coconuts lying on the side of the road. Little unknown (or maybe not) fact… You can pick those up, free, and use them! Just make sure that they’re not already cracked open or they’ll be spoiled and unusable. Also, give the coconut a good shake and make sure there is still quite a bit of liquid on the inside. (*If you don’t live in an area where coconuts can be found on the side of the road, chances are your local grocery store will stock them.)
My husband and brother-in-law decided to take the kids for a walk and brought back with them about 10 coconuts in great condition. Woo hoo! Once you peel the outside of the coconut you can use or store the water on the inside (Don’t throw it out! It’s super nutritious and delicious!) and you can use the flesh on the inside for a number of different things!
The next time you’re out walking or driving and see coconuts on the side of the road, stop and pick them up. With a little work, you’ll save money and have something delicious to show for it!