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Coconut FAQs

It may surprise some people to know that coconuts aren’t considered nuts at all! In fact, these fuzzy fruits are botanically classified as drupes or stone fruit!

If you’ve only ever had coconut in processed candy form, you may be surprised by the mild, nutty flavor of fresh coconut. It has a slight natural sweetness with a firm texture. The white flesh takes on a deeper flavor when its natural sugars are toasted in the cooking process. Inside, coconuts have a lightly sweet water that contains tons of beneficial nutrients, known and loved for their superior hydrating properties. Only slightly more viscous than water, coconut water has a translucent white color.

Coconuts are roundish fruits that have a unique, fuzzy brown shell. Ranging from about the size of a grapefruit to the size of a soccer ball, coconuts weigh about three pounds. Under the shell is a layer not quite an inch thick of white coconut meat. This meat has a firm, yet sliceable texture and a mild nutty flavor. At the center of the coconut is it’s signature liquid called coconut water. Coconuts contain about ¾ cup of this mild and flavorful water that has a translucent white color.

Coconuts grow on trees are called coconut palms (Cocos nucifera), which can reach up to 100 feet high. It’s not certain where coconuts first grew, but today they’re cultivated throughout the world in humid, tropical climates. Today, coconuts are produced in the United States, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia and the Middle East.

Outside, coconuts are covered in fuzzy, medium-brown shell. Inside and underneath this shell is a pure white meat that encases a translucent, white water.

More often than not, a coconut will be ripe by the time it gets to your table. To be sure, hold the coconut and shake it a little. If you can feel water moving around inside, that means it's ready to eat. Ripe coconuts will also make a hollow sound when you give ‘em a good, strong finger tap.

Coconut can be enjoyed raw or cooked into many different food and drink applications. To prepare a coconut, you’ll need to break it down in a few ways. This can be a little scary for some people, but it doesn’t have to be! You’ll just need some basic household tools including a corkscrew, a sturdy measuring cup, a meat cleaver or heavy knife, butter knife, vegetable peeler and maybe your oven.

First, empty the coconut water inside. To do this, locate the three “holes” at the top of the coconut, and determine which of the three is the softest (there’s usually one soft spot). Then, insert your corkscrew like you would a wine bottle until you reach the inside. Remove the corkscrew and pour the coconut water into a measuring cup. Coconuts yield just about 2/3c of water.

Next, hold the coconut with the holes in the palm of your hand so that the widest part faces up. Using the back of your heavy knife, carefully and firmly give the coconut a wack. Keep doing this around the circumference of the coconut, and it’ll split easily. Another option is to bake the coconut for about 10 minutes before wacking it with the knife. This may be a little easier, but remember to wait until the coconut is completely cool.

Once you’ve halved the coconut, take a butter knife or spoon and carefully separate the fruit from the outer shell by working all the way around the circumference. The coconut meat should pop out in one large piece.

Finally, using your vegetable peeler, remove the brown skin from the coconut. You’re now ready to shred or slice the coconut meat into its desired size.

Even though a coconut is a drupe, and part of the stone fruit family, it’s the seed that we enjoy eating so much! In short, a coconut, while not a botanical nut or seed, is still kind of a seed. An edible one, at that!

It’s not certain where coconuts originate, however they are cultivated throughout the world in tropical climates with steady rainfall. Today, coconuts grow in the United States, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia and the Middle East.

Coconuts grow on trees called coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) that can reach up to 100 feet high. They grow in sandy soils and have notoriously fragile root systems. Coconut palms love lots of sunlight and humidity, and tend to grow more fruit in these conditions.

Coconut is a nutritious fruit; one of the few that offers naturally occurring fats! It’s also a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and folate. 

Coconut Nutrition (1 cup).

  • Calories: 301
  • Protein: 3g
  • Carbohydrate: 13g
  • Fiber: 8g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Calcium: 12mg
  • Magnesium: 27mg
  • Phosphorous: 96mg
  • Potassium: 303 mg

For more nutrition information about coconut, visit the USDA website.

While coconut season is generally considered to be October through December, they’re often cultivated and available year-round.

Coconut is suitable for all kinds of dishes and beverages. Coconut is a staple ingredient in cuisines throughout the world. It’s enjoyed in snacks, soups, sauces, main courses and desserts. Whether sweet or savory, coconut brings flavor and plant-based fat to every kind of dish. This tropical fruit gives many tropical cocktails their signature flavor, and it adds richness to shakes and smoothies.

If you’ve only ever had coconut in processed candy form, you may be surprised by the mild, nutty flavor of fresh coconut. It has a slight natural sweetness with a firm texture. The white flesh takes on a deeper flavor when its natural sugars are toasted in the cooking process. Inside, coconuts have a lightly sweet water that contains tons of beneficial nutrients, known and loved for their superior hydrating properties. Only slightly more viscous than water, coconut water has a translucent white color.

Coconut is a staple ingredient in cuisines throughout the world. It’s enjoyed in snacks, soups, sauces, main courses and desserts. Whether sweet or savory, coconut brings flavor and plant-based fat to every kind of dish.

Fresh coconut meat can be eaten raw, whether it be directly from the shell, shredded or chunked. It can be cooked in just about any way imaginable for meals and snacks any time of day. It compliments other produce as well as meats and vegetable proteins.

There are endless ways to drink coconut! From popping a straw directly into the fruit, to smoothies, shakes, cocktails, juices and more, coconut adds an inimitable, rich sweetness. To make delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, use your coconuts to make a basic syrup, then add it to your drinks.

Fresh, unopened coconuts can be kept on the countertop for about one week. Once you crack open your coconuts, it’s best to eat them within two to three days.

To keep your unopened coconuts fresher for longer, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Coconuts freeze beautifully as well, however, you will need to open them up first. Drain out the water and keep it for tasty cocktails and soft drinks. Then, crack the fresh coconut into chunks, protect them in food safe wrapping or a sealed container, and place them in the freezer.

Yes! Lots of good dogs love coconut and it’s known to be great for their skin and coat, inflammation reduction and immunity. It’s possible to have too much of a good thing though, as coconut can cause gastrointestinal issues like gas and bloating if given generous quantities.

Your FruitStand fam always encourages you to clear the safety of any new fruits or veggies with your veterinarian before offering them your pooch.

Coconut has a high fat content, so it can stain some fabrics with its oils. While coconut is very light in color, it can leave a brownish stain if not treated right away. Fruit Geek 101: Keep a portable stain stick on hand for impromptu fruit feasts. Quickly treating a fruit juice spot greatly increases your chances of avoiding a stain.

Even though coconut is very light in color, it can leave an oily stain on some fabrics. If coconut drops onto your clothing, table cloth or napkins, first treat the spot with a stain remover that’s safe for that particular fabric. Follow the directions on the product to prevent the spot from setting, and pop the item into the washer as soon as you can.

Coconut has an unmistakable flavor, but what’s inside can cause some confusion. The sweet liquid found sloshing around inside coconuts is called coconut water. It’s nutritious, delicious and is known for being exceptionally hydrating.

Coconut cream is made from cooking both the meat and milk of the coconut to make a luxuriously thick, fatty cream that’s used in food and drink recipes. Coconut milk is similar to coconut cream in that it’s made from both the meat and milk. However, coconut milk is thinner, less fatty, and has a knack for naturally separating in the container.

If coconut spoils, you may smell something a little funky. First, discard or compost the expired coconut, then clean the area where it was stored with hot, soapy water. To prevent smells from fruit in the future, an old-fashioned box of baking soda does wonders wherever you store foods.

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