COCONUT is your friend
BUYING THE COCONUT
Be sure to get one that sloshes when you shake it. Should sound like a little ocean. If not there is enough of an opening in it to let all the “water” get out. This also means that the air and germs can get in. NOT GOOD FOR YOU! Unless, of course, you but one that is packaged as pre-cut. But what fun is that?
OPEN THE COCONUT
The best part. Get a medium to large hammer. (Out of the garage? better clean it well.) Hold the coconut in one hand, maybe use a kitchen mitt, (or a pile of towels on the counter) and hit the coconut around the “equator” until it starts to crack. I always hold on to it because otherwise it will shoot away when you hit it.
DRAIN THE COCONUT
I hold the coconut over a bowl with a sieve with a coffee filter so that the “water” will drop there. If you don’t plan to use the juice, just do it over the sink. Did I mention that coffee filters are one of my favorite kitchen tools?
BUST THAT COCONUT IN HALF
When all the juice has drained out, you can be more aggressive and hit along the crack until it goes all the way around. You may need to get a sturdy knife or CLEAN screwdriver to wedge the two sides apart.
RELEASE THE BEAST
Use a butter knife or STURDY blunt tipped dinner knife to wedge between the shell and the inner lining skin. This WILL break the tip off of a pointy paring knife which will create an Angry Chef >:(
TO SKIN OR NOT TO SKIN
Weird question? Some people like the texture of the “skin” (it adds fiber?). It is nice and crunchy, but I don’t really think crunchy when I eat fresh coconut. So, VERY CAREFULLY slide the edge of your pairing knife between the meat and skin. I generally use the closer end of the blade because it is easier to control and the blade is more stout there. Work remove small sections of the skin at a time. This is not a to see how long a strip you can cut.
SLICE AND SHRED
I use a mandolin to make thin slices of the larger pieces, then flakes vertically through the narrow pieces and then shred the rest with a cheese grater. KITCHEN SAFETY: ALWAYS use the protector part of the mandolin. If the pieces slip your finger is no match for the blade. About 10 years ago, I was a counselor at a girls club. A different counselor was teaching the 5th graders how to make salad. One of the girls was slicing cucumbers and, well you guessed, she didn’t like the protector! I am a nurse so they called me over. I said “Well, you are going to have to throw that salad away!”
COCONUT READY TO GO
You may eat it raw or toast it. I have tried it directly into macaroons. They fell apart because of too much moisture. I am sure they would work well in tradition types of cake like carrot or spice, but the liquid may need to be reduced a little. Adding some to cookies or bars will also create extra moisture. The edges of the coconut sticking out of the baked goods will crisp up nicely.
The raw shreds are great in salads or as garnish. You can see how I used it in the omelette.
I toast these and pretend the large thin pieces are chips. In general I like the crispy/crunchy texture as an addition to my paleo snack list.
Go primal and crack a coconut. They are not just for island survivors.