As someone who is extremely into food, food culture and making things from scratch (when reasonable of course!), I’ve been feasting my eyes upon certain “gadgets” that would allow me to go further down the path of creating delicious goods in the kitchen. Gadget #1 is The Hatchet: it’s certainly not shiny, new or cutting edge (no pun intended), but it has allowed me to delve into the world of using fresh coconut.
Coconut water from truly fresh coconuts is inarguably better–in taste and nutritional value–than all the bottled & pasteurized “fresh coconut water” that is out there on the shelves (*see the bottom of this post to learn a bit more about the benefits of fresh coconut water). Also, the fresh coconut “meat” is amazing when blended into oatmeal or yogurt, used in desserts and best of all, smoothies–which brings me to Gadget #2, The High Powered Blender. It is shiny and new, extremely powerful and currently being used to make the most delicious breakfast smoothies ever. (More on smoothies in a future post.) However, the smoothies wouldn’t be quite as good or satiating if they didn’t have that fresh coconut meat in them…so here’s a “how-to” on cracking the nut:
What you’ll need:
- Hatchet or substantial meat cleaver
- Young, green coconut (the ones that are pointy on top: check Whole Foods or other Natural Grocers)
- Large chef knife
- Brown grocery bag
- Glass jar/container for coconut water & coconut meat
Find a sturdy surface and put down the paper bag or any other material to have a clean working surface. I do this on our back porch so it doesn’t sound like I’m trying to do a kitchen remodel.
Place the coconut on its side and use the chef knife to cut away the top part of the coconut, rotating it a few times. You’ll know you’ve done enough when you hit the shell.
This is the point at which you should BE CAREFUL! Use your chef knife as a steady “hand” to keep the coconut in place–DO NOT use your hand to hold the coconut steady! Picture cutting a 1 inch square hole at the top of the coconut with the hatchet. Give it a couple good strong smacks, then turn to cut the next side until you’ve done all 4 sides or until sweet & refreshing coconut water splashes up when you’ve broken through. Pour that nutritional goodness into a glass!
Finally, give the coconut a few more good swings of the hatchet to fully crack it open and then use a large metal spoon to scrape out the coconut meat. You’re now ready to “go coconuts!“
*Why make the extra effort to drink fresh coconut water? Coconut water brands on the shelf such as Zico, Vita Coco and O.N.E. are pasteurized and less beneficial since the heat destroys the enzymes and most nutrients. (Have you ever noticed that it doesn’t need refrigeration?) They’re all around less fresh. When you drink the good stuff–straight from the nut–you get all the benefits of young coconut water’s nutrients, enzymes and healthy microflora because it has been protected by the nut’s shell: nature’s method of sealing in the freshness.