For some, coconuts and coconut products are consumed on a daily basis, particularly for those living in subtropical areas around the globe where it is cheap and plentiful; they will probably also learn how to cut a coconut open from fairly youngish age? Who knows… but we think the that idea of hacking into a standard/matured brown coconut can be a little daunting!
We both have memories of adults needing a hammer (or rolling pin and chisel) to open it’s hard exterior; allowing you to pour out what seemed to be a worthless amount of water, followed by an extended period of time to remove its meaty flesh. #palava
Question: How often do you eat fresh coconuts and why?
“Coconut (Cocos nucifera) belongs to the Palm family (Arecaceae). Grown in abundance in Malaysia, Polynesia and southern Asia, Spanish explorers named the cocos – meaning ‘grinning face’, because of the three little eyes on the base which they thought resembled a monkey. Classed as a fruit and frequently confused for being a nut, the coconut is actually a one-seeded drupe. ” . (1)
Of course sometimes nature makes us work for things, but it can also supply us with easier alternatives…such as Thai Green/baby/young coconuts! They have more water as in the mature ones it’s replaced by the white flesh. So if you have a craving for a refreshing coconutty drink, these are the ones to go for!
There was probably just over a cup of water, maybe 300ml in each of our coconuts; it’s hard to say as hacking these open was thirsty work (j/k!) so we didn’t bother measuring it! It’s good to note that this volume (and the quantity of coconut meat) will probably vary, depending on the size of the fruit (oh sorry, we meant drupe!).
All of this coconut water is great for rehydrating, especially because it’s rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, including important electrolytes: potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium.(2) These electrolytes are vital for the health our muscular, cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems, as well as to help with the absorption and balance of the body’s internal fluids.
Coconut water is not a miracle drink, but a natural and healthful one; one study showed that coconut water is just as effective for rehydration as other carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drinks. Whilst on the topic of sports drinks, it’s good to note that the majority of people do not sweat enough through regular exercise to warrant buying manufactured sports drinks (laden in added sugars!); ideally they are designed for elite athletes that are exercising more than an hour a day. Erm but even then, how many Olympians do you see drinking Gatorade or Lucozade Sport?!
Anyways, let’s move on with our coconutty adventures…
Thai Green Coconuts!
We’ve previously read that once these coconuts are harvested, their outer green husk is removed, they are shaped for easy access and handling and then finally wrapped in plastic to help keep in the moisture.
Oh and labelled…complete with easy instructions on how to access its sweet water and flesh, but how easy was it?!
Buy the coconuts! Please note that standard/matured ‘brown’ coconuts are generally a lot cheaper. Our duo pack costed £3.50 (at ASDA of all places, who’da thunk it?!). For lovers of coconut water but not so much the meat, this seemed a little pricey… but it’s a novelty and we’re not going to experience a cheaper one on a Thailand beach anytime soon! Make sure to thoroughly inspect them (as you would any other expensive piece of merchandise!); only in this instance check for mould, cracks, leaks and/or soft spots.
As you can clearly see above, the best before states: consume within 3 days of purchase; it’s been two weeks since we purchased ours! Perhaps we’ve lost a few nutrients, but ours still tasted fresh and down right delicious!
Give yourself ample room to work with (safety first folks!). Place the coconut on it’s side, then whilst keeping a firm grip you’ll need to hack into and saw off the top; the directions recommend using a ‘sharp chef’s knife’. Even without a really ‘chefy’ knife, this step was easy enough; the outer, white, husky skin is very ‘manageable’. Tip: If the husk is really thick, you’ll have to make your first cut further away from the tip to help expose the hard brown shell; our first cut was about one inch below the tip.
Whilst still keeping a firm grip, chisel or hack the husk down to expose the top of the brown shell (which is again manageable). The more experienced you are with this, the less mess you will make! Tip: Lie the coconut on its side or keep it upright, whatever you feel most comfortable with.
Steps 3 & 4
This is where the fun begins (not really)! It’s advised that you have to hit the brown shell at a 45 degree angle (whilst upright) with the edge of your knife, preparing grooves or a substantial cut in order to be able to lever off the top! Sound simple? Well, if you do not have a sharp (or large) enough knife (because it’s not worth damaging your standard kitchen knives over) or lack strength, then it really isn’t! #nomeatcleaversinthishouse
Unlike this guy…
…straight from the local trees, onto his chopping block and hacking it like a boss!
We preformed this step by using two methods; firstly by utilising its recommended approach and then secondly by using an impromptu, quirky but highly effective method! It just goes to show that you don’t need to use anything too sharp.. in fact if your strong and brave enough, you could probably use a simple dinner/butter knife!
Tip: You might need safety glasses for the first approach… husky splinters were known to fly everywhere!
The first approach produced this…
The second approach was quicker (well at least for us), safer and produced a much wider opening. Perhaps you can try using the latter; a bread knife and rolling pin! Sounds daft but as you’ll see in our (above) 60 second video; it made step three and four easy and simultaneous. It’s also good to note that we didn’t really spill any of the liquid!
***Please excuse our amateur video skills!***
Step 5 (The Sweetest Step!)
The product advises topping with a straw and a festive umbrella… erm yeah, we were fresh out of the latter (obviously!)… and our orchid didn’t flower this year, so we still couldn’t fake the much needed ambiance!
So all there was left to do was simply enjoy it’s sweet nectar and imagine being somewhere warm, without grey and murky skies…that we are so fortunate to have in the UK! 😦
Our closing thoughts…
There are loads of health claims around coconut water (or coconut products for that matter), subsequently encasing them with the term ‘superfood’… but as we have previously mentioned here, ‘superfoods’ do not exist.
Taste, Price & Value:
Alex found the coconut flesh quite bland while I found it to be quite sweet. Additionally, the flesh was very creamy and jelly-like (living up to its nickname ‘jelly-nut’), it can easily be removed from its shell and tasted absolutely delicious in our morning bowl of porridge (definitely a step up from your standard desiccated coconut topping)!
Although healthful, refreshing and the water having a much sweeter taste than most standard cartons of coconut water, it is pricey (but its no surprise as it is imported). You can buy approx. 500ml of unsweetened/pure coconut water for about the same price as one of these coconuts!
You shouldn’t feel obligated to buy coconuts. If you love them, great; as we have mentioned above, a well balanced diet can provide you with all of the same essential nutrients that are found in coconuts. #nosuperfoods. So unless you desire fresh coconut water and/or meat, or a novelty cup for your next summer party (which sounds AWESOME btw), stick to purchasing cartons of (organic?) unsweetened/natural coconut water, preferably ones that do not contain any added bits of fruit, pesticides or husk!
1.BBC Good Foods