A shell of a whole coconut is extremely hard. While some people will tell you the smash it against a concrete floor to crack the shell, you are likely to lose many of the juices inside. Instead, try shelling a coconut with five simple tools: a hammer or mallet, a long metal skewer, a butter knife, a vegetable peeler, and some kitchen towels.
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- Screwdriver or skewer
Time needed: 10 minutes.
- To break down a whole coconut:
Poke the skewer through the softest of the three “eyes” of the coconut, working it around to create a 1/2-inch hole.
Drain the coconut water into a bowl. There should be around 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup. If the juice does not taste fresh, throw the coconut away.
Holding the coconut with a towel, firmly tap the shell with the hammer, turning as needed, until the shell starts to crack in half.
When it is cracked all the way around, split the shell and lay the coconut cut side down on a kitchen towel.
Tap the shell firmly to loosen the flesh. Carefully pry the flesh from the shell with a butter knife.
Once the flesh is release, remove the thin brown skin with a vegetable peeler. You can grate, shred, or juice the flesh as needed.
Refrigerate the coconut meat for up to a week, or freeze it for up to three months. Coconut milk should also be refrigerated and consumed within three days.