Coconut trees and the hairy fruit they produce have been a staple of tropical island life since before history began. Coconut water provides a sweet, hydrating, and refreshing drink. The flesh of the fruit is packed with healthy fats, the shells make for ready made pots and bowls, and the hairy husk can be used to make ropes and roofs. The rest of the world has woken up to the health benefits of coconut milk and meat and the fruit is experiencing a surge of popularity. The challenge of how to open a coconut still remains.

In the following excerpt from the book Household Magic by Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen the authors help you choose the right coconut, and provide you with effective ways how to open a coconut at home. Ranging from just poking a few holes so you can pour out the liquid to heating or cooling the coconut so you can open it without resorting to a machete or hammer and chisel. Separating the meat from the shell is still a tedious task. albeit a worthwhile one.


◆ Select a coconut that sounds like it’s full of liquid. When you’re ready to open it, take

out a hammer and a big nail or screwdriver. Place the nail or screwdriver on one of the three small, hairless black eyes or indentations on the coconut. Then tap the top of it with the hammer, piercing the eye. Ouch! Repeat the process on the other two eyes, and pour the liquid into a bowl.

◆ A coconut has a natural fault line. If you have a feel for these things, you may be able to crack the coconut open by using a hammer to tap around the widest part until there’s

a crack in the shell. Then continue turning and tapping the coconut on that fault line to

make a clean break.

◆ Instead of depending on your Survivor abilities, you may want to put the coconut in a 375oF oven for 20 minutes. Take it out and let it cool for about five minutes. Then put a

towel on top, and tap on it with a hammer until the coconut breaks.

◆ Instead of putting the coconut in the oven, try this—after you’ve pierced the eyes and

purged the liquid, put it in the freezer for one hour, then cover it with a towel and tap on it with a hammer to break it open.

◆ Whichever method you use, you still have to pull the meat away from the shell with your hands and a screwdriver. It’s dirty work, but it’s worth it. The coconut meat will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about five days.

For additional food tips and other advice for your home, purchase Household Magic from

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