One of the safest sources of both food and water found across most of the tropics is the coconut. Living along the coast in zone 9b, I am well into the growing area for the multipurpose trees. I will try to visit the various uses of the coconut palm.
I consume a LOT of coconut water, and in one of my recent barter deals, I picked up a half-dozen green coconuts that were going to be removed from a tree and thrown away. I traded about 10 minutes of my time and a two-mile drive for these six as well as a good chance at the rest of the coconuts on the trees in this property. Not a bad deal, considering there were over a dozen coconut palms
Here in south Florida, most owners of such palms pay to have the coconuts removed, and have them hauled away, or at least put out to the curb. Many times I’ve spoken to owners of such “trash” and picked up a dozen or two coconuts in various sizes, but all edible in some way.
In fact, at one point, BlueTang’s girlfriend was wanting a few coconuts, and, as a literal translation (a joke) of her wanting “lots of coconuts to plant”, I dropped off over 60 at one time. She called a halt to my merriment almost immediately though…
My point is, there are lots of coconuts around here, more than I can use personally, and most are free for the asking. And I don’t even have to climb a palm tree to get them!
Some of you know a coconut as a small, furry brown nut that resembles a monkey’s head, minus the face. Other know a coconut as a a large, fibrous husk that ranges from green to brown, depending on its stages of maturity. Some think that each is a different type of coconut. And a few of you know that is, in fact, a small monkey head nut inside of a larger fibrous husk. To many of my friends great amazement, I’ve shown them how the small brown nut can be found inside the giant husk.
As to methods of extracting the edible parts, my approach depends mostly on what I have on hand, and the age of the nut I am opening. The older the nut, the harder both the outer husk becomes, as well as the inner shell. When young and green, a sharp knife is all I use.
Here is how I do it.
- Find a young green coconut. I prefer to have someone else do the climbing, so look for nuts that have been removed from the tree already. Fresh is important.
- Find the bottom end of the nut. This will be the end with three lobes, opposite the end that was connected to the tree.
- Slice (or chop if using a machete) into each of the lobes towards the center. You are trying to slice the end off of the nut eventually. Try small cuts, working your way around, go slow, no need to cut your hand off.
- Once you have the end off, slice thin slivers off until you reveal the white crown of the nut.
- Now, depending on the maturity of your green coconut. you may either slice off the end of the shell if its very young, or use your knife to drill a hole if it is more mature and has a
- Pour off liquid and drink, or drink right from the nut. Deeeee-lish!
Hope this helps!