Opening a coconut at home

So. Dear2 bought a coconut from NTUC last weekend. Baby1 was taking her afternoon nap and we decided it was time to enjoy a cool refreshing coconut drink. The only problem was that, we don’t know how to open a coconut…

I’ve opened a wild coconut before. That was way back during my NSF days. I remembered it was during the ‘escaping’ phase of our POW (prisoner of war) training. We ‘escaped’ from our captors and found ourselves at a beach, tired and thirsty. We decided to break open a coconut. It was tough. We spent around 30 minutes prying at the coconut with our palm sized jack-knifes and hurling the coconut against jagged rocks. Finally, we cracked an opening and enjoyed our coconut juice.

Well, there’s got to be a better way to open a coconut at home. So I started by carefully chopping away the top of the coconut, hoping to create a hole small enough to put a straw in. After some quick chopping, I’ve only managed to remove the husk and exposing the inner shell.

I spent the next few minutes hacking at the inner shell, hoping to crack it in some way. It was futile. At the same time, I was worried about using excessive strength as I don’t want to injure myself by breaking the kitchen knife.

It wasn’t working. I decided to try piercing at the shell using a butter knife, mainly because a butter knife is thicker and the blade and knife was a whole and not two separate parts, hence less likelihood of an accident. Obviously, it didn’t even make a dent in the shell.

Next, Dear2 suggested using a corkscrew. Ok, I thought. We try it but to no avail. The shell was way too hard for the pointed corkscrew to penetrate.

Then, I went back to the kitchen knife and tried using the point tip to drill a hole in the shell, just enough to insert a straw. It went pretty well. I dug several millimetres into the shell and suddenly, Snap! The knife tip broke and embedded itself in the shell. Oh no.

Meanwhile, Dear2 had begun searching on Youtube for tutorial videos on opening coconuts. She showed me this one.

Wow. It looked easy in the video. And the knife looked sharp. Our kitchen knife surely wasn’t that sharp, but we should try that sideways chopping technique. Maybe that’s the reason why coconuts sold at supermarkets were pre-sliced into such a cylindrical shape. So that we can lay the coconut sideways and chop just like in the video.

I picked up the kitchen knife and went back to the chopping boards. Placing the coconut sideways, I started chopping, mimicking the video. I knew my knife wasn’t as sharp, so I started rotating the coconut to create a weakened rim around the top of the shell where I want the opening to be.

The rim was completed. I peeled away the excess husk and focused my efforts on a particular side of the coconut. I maintained chopping repeatedly at the same spot. After around 20 chops, the knife blade went through. The first opening was made. I checked but it wasn’t enough, yet.

I rotated the coconut slightly and repeated the procedure. It was much easier now that an opening was already made. It was a matter of extending the gap while not losing too much coconut juice. A few more pries and the shell cap came off with a firm tug.

A success! Hooray!

Youtube saved the day. I learnt a new skill. Dear2 had fresh coconut juice. And we created another piece of fond memory in our home. :)



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