Preparing a coconut

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A few taps and it will crack around the middle

How to prepare a coconut

This is easier than you would think. Don't bother drilling out the little `bungs' unless you want to drink the coconut juice with a straw first!

If you need to reserve the juice, break it over a bowl, if not then just do it over the sink.

The citrus zester shown here is identical to tools sold specifically for scraping a coconut. It scraped a coconut clean in 3 minutes, leaving a neat pile of coconut `spaghetti'. However, as shown here, you can improvise with an ice-cream scoop, a mandoline, a knife and probably many other ways.

If your recipe requires toasted coconut, once you have the flesh grated, roast in a dry wok until it's golden brown.

Step by step

  • Hold the coconut in the palm of your hand
  • Sharply tap the middle of the coconut with the blunt side of a cleaver
  • Rotate it a little and tap it again
  • Repeat until it cracks
  • When it cracks, quite often the juice won't escape immediately as the flesh tends to hold the juice until you prise the two halves apart
  • Scoop out the flesh with a coconut scraper
  • Hang the used coconut halves outside for the birds, they love them.
An ice-cream scoop does the trick
`Roasting' coconut in a wok

How to completely remove the meat/flesh of a coconut

  • Split the coconut into two halves by giving it a few taps around the middle.
  • Place in a preheated oven [200°C (400°F)] for a few minutes
  • The coconut meat will simply separate from the shell
  • You will however still have to separate the coconut flesh from the thin brown membrane that surrounds it.

Chef's tip

So you don't waste time on a bad coconut, once you have the coconut open, take a little nibble, just to make sure it's not turned rancid.