In our humble opinion, coconuts are one of the most delicious and versatile fruits that ever fell from a tree. That’s right, coconuts are fruit! While coconuts aren’t at all nuts, their white flesh has a mildly nutty, creamy flavor that’s unlike any other fruit. Coconut flesh is firm yet pliant, which adds distinct texture and flavor to our favorite foods and beverages.
If you’ve only ever had coconut in processed candy form, you may be surprised by the flavor of fresh coconut. Unlike the super sweetness of popular coconut flavored foods, fresh coconut flesh has just a slight natural sweetness with a thick, leathery texture. The white flesh takes on a deeper flavor when its natural sugars are toasted in the cooking process.
Inside, coconuts have nearly a cup of 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.
Even though fresh coconut is one of life’s great pleasures, the shell can be a big barrier even for the biggest fruit fans. Your fellow coconut enthusiasts at FruitStand don’t want you to let a silly thing like a shell stop you from enjoying this special fruit! We’ve broken it down (pun intended) so that you’ll be a coconut cracking pro in no time. Keep reading to learn more!
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. Now you’re ready to shred or slice the coconut meat into its desired size.
Coconut is a staple ingredient in cuisines around the world. It is used in raw and cooked applications, from sweet to savory. Here are some of the most common ways to cook coconut:
- Baking: Coconut can be baked into cakes, custards, pies, breads and pastries.
- Confection: The creamy, nutty flavor of coconut is delicious in jellies, chocolates and candy making.
- Meats and Fish: Coconut water is a meat tenderizing champion, adding subtle tropical flavor and tenderness. The flesh and liquid pairs as well with delicate seafoods like shrimp and fish as it does with chicken, pork and beef.
Coconut generously offers the eater a delicious food and beverage. Whether enjoying the flavorful water found inside each fruit, or combining it with the flesh for thicker drinkable options, coconut has something for everyone. Here are some easy ways use coconut in your drinks:
- Cocktails: coconut water, cream or milk give tropical cocktails a refreshing tiki vibe
- Milk Alternative: the flesh and coconut milk can be combined and strained for a creamier, non-dairy and nut free milk option. Pairs perfectly with chocolate cookies or your favorite morning beverage!
- Smoothies: Add fresh or frozen coconut flesh to smoothies and shakes for delicious flavor and thicker texture.
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.
We hope you feel like a coconut eating expert now! Show us your favorite ways to prepare and eat coconut by tagging us in your culinary masterpieces on Instagram@Fruitstandcom!