Perhaps no other plant so perfectly conjures images of the tropics like the coconut. A common ingredient in everything from pies to granola—it’s absolutely essential for a Pina Colada (and the shell makes a mean cup). Here are some of our favorite coconut recipes, plus trivia and time-saving tricks.
Tips and Tricks
- If you’re buying a coconut for the meat, select a brown, heavy fruit. You should hear liquid sloshing when shaken. Check for dry, mold free eyes (those brown spots) to get the best meat.
- If you’re a coconut water aficionado, look for greener, younger coconuts. These will have the fresh electrolyte-filled water you’re likely used to.
- It may sound like a hack, but one of the best ways to crack into a coconut is still by using a hammer and a screwdriver. Use the screwdriver to poke into one of the eyes and drain the water. Once emptied, wrap your coconut with a towel and crack open with the hammer.
- If you’re not up to taking your frustrations out with a hammer, you can toss a drained coconut into the oven at 375°F and it will eventually crack on its own.
- Our Coconut Tool makes it easy to scoop the coconut meat from the shell. Wedge the hook between the two and work the flesh off in pieces. Coconut flesh can then be eaten, shredded, sweetened, dried or prepared however you prefer.
- Whole coconuts can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks and frozen for a few months, but once opened they should be eaten immediately.
- The coconut is not a nut. It’s actually a drupe like cherries, plums, and peaches.
- Due to the danger of climbing into or working under coconut trees, some countries, including Thailand and Malaysia have trained primates to harvest ripe coconuts.
- Nearly every part of the coconut and the coconut palm is useful. Coconut palm wood is used in construction, coconut leaves are used as brooms or woven to make baskets, coconut husk fibers make ropes and mats, unripe coconuts contain potable water, and coconut meat and milk are widely used in food.
- Coconut meat is often processed for use in soaps, shampoos, cosmetics and oils (both cooking and body treatment oils).