Sunday 6 May 2012

How to Prepare a Coconut

It has been a beautiful Spring day here in Toronto. The kind of weather that beckons one to abandon all errands and responsibilities and spend as much time as possible outdoors. Well, maybe that's just me. At least I used it as an opportunity to create a step-by-step guide to preparing a coconut (outdoors!). Here in Canada, coconut trees cannot survive in our climate so coconuts need to be imported from warmer countries. The most common way to find them here are dehusked and shrink wrapped. You might ask yourself when you see one of these at a market or grocer, "What on earth do I do with this?". Never fear, people of the internet, all is about to be revealed.

You will need the following:

1) A coconut
2) A large nail
3) A claw hammer
4) A pint glass
5) A kitchen towel

Step 1:

Acquire a coconut

Step 2:

Note the three stoma (germination pores) situated at one of the ends of the coconut. 

Step 3:

Place a nail over one of the stomata and carefully tap it in with the hammer. Hammer the nail in so that it penetrates over an inch (4 centimetres should do the trick) and repeat on the other three pores.

Step 4:

Allow the coconut to drain into a pint glass. DO NOT DISCARD. Not only is coconut water a delicious thirst quencher but it can also be used  in a variety of tropical cocktails, smoothies, and shakes. One coconut can yield approximately 1/2 cup to 1 cup of coconut water.

Step 5:

Once drained, place your coconut onto a clean kitchen towel. 

Step 6:

Wrap the coconut in the kitchen towel so that it is completely enveloped. Get your hammer ready because here comes the fun part...

Step 7:

Strike the coconut a few times with the hammer. You will get a sense of how much force is required and how many pieces you will end up with. Remember that people have been enjoying coconut all over the world for centuries so it's perfectly manageable. There will be a bit of fibrous debris so rinse your pieces well (a colander/strainer works best). The white coconut meat is the only part that is edible, though if there is a thin skin of brown on the exterior that it fine. Congratulations! You now have fresh coconut that is ready to enjoy. It can be dried, shredded or used fresh. It is most commonly used (in these parts anyway) in baking and desserts but you can also nosh away at it as is. Fresh, raw coconut meat is a good source of fiber, manganese, potassium, and minerals.

Coconut Fact: Coconuts are actually drupes, not true nuts.

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