How to Open a Coconut

Kenny and I had a few friends over for dinner on Saturday evening, and we decided that coconut ice cream would make a nice complement to the fresh mangoes that our friend DeAnn had offered to bring for dessert. There were several choices of coconut products at the store, including cans of coconut milk, dehydrated shredded coconut, and fresh coconuts in the produce section. We opted to try a combination of fresh coconuts and canned milk for our ice cream.

There was just one problem once we arrived home from the store: we had no idea how to actually crack open the coconut’s hard shell to get at the goodness inside. We looked at our array of knives, and couldn’t imagine that any of them would be particularly effective. After a short aborted attempt with our bread knife (I don’t recommend this, we actually bent one of the teeth), I suggested getting out our saw…


Kenny made some progress with this approach, but it was slow going, and we worried that it was unsanitary. So he asked me to consult the web. A search for “how to open a coconut” took me to, naturally.

Following those instructions, Kenny made quick work of the coconut:

Using a hammer and nail to punch a hole in the coconut

Letting the juice drain out through the hole

Now, the fun part – smashing the coconut to bits with the hammer

Et, voila!

Unfortunately, once we finally got the coconut open it just didn’t taste quite right. We ended up throwing it out and opting for a bag of shredded coconut from the grocery store. But at least we learned something; I suspect that our newly-acquired coconut opening skills will come in quite handy on our next trip to visit Kenny’s parents in Florida.

We used this recipe for the ice cream. It was delicious.

2 thoughts on “How to Open a Coconut”

  1. I once used a tablesaw. Works great – you set the blade depth so it goes through the outer shell, but not the meat. Be careful since if the saw catches it will send the coconut flying at very high speed and something could get severed…

  2. I followed through to this blog via a link on Bea’s blog, and couldn’t help responding to this coconut entry. Using a happer is a pretty bad idea (and I know because I grew up cracking coconuts :-) Best thing is to use the blunt edge of a cleaver (a type of knife) and hit the coconut along and around the belly. Several steady and strong blow like this will start to crack it and then you can use the same knife to open that up. With a bit of practice, you can have the coconut cracked in two perfect halves. Makes it easy to use a coconut grater like the one at the link below as well …

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