How to Preserve a Coconut Shell

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Learn how to preserve a coconut shell for craft projects.
Learn how to preserve a coconut shell for craft projects. (Image: coconut image by citylights from Fotolia.com)

The very act of opening a coconut shell has confounded many. Coconuts have a hard, thick covering that can be remarkably resistant if not approached in a certain way. The fresh "meat" of a coconut is a flavorful treat that in no way resembles the freeze-dried versions available in grocery stores, and its "milk" contains a range of nutritional benefits. For those who are creatively inclined, the shell of a coconut can be used in much the same way as wood for numerous art projects, but first it must be opened and preserved in the correct manner.

Things You'll Need

  • Hammer
  • Long nail
  • Glass or bowl
  • Large towel
  • Small handsaw (optional)
  • Glass or bowl
  • Sandpaper
  • Paring knife
  • Olive or coconut oil

Use the hammer and nail to pierce a hole in each of the coconut's three "eyes." These areas are usually the weakest. You will be able to locate the eyes of the coconut by looking on the ends. Place the coconut over the glass or bowl, eyes downward, to drain its milk.

Take the nail and place it at the center of the coconut. Hit the nail with the hammer to make a small hole. Remove the nail and create another hole close to it. Continue in this manner around the horizontal center of the coconut. When you finish, it should look a bit like the holes form "dotted" lines.

Wrap the coconut well in a large towel and place it on the floor. Hit the coconut at the center with the hammer to break it apart at the line of demarcation that you created with the nail holes. Rotate the wrapped coconut to apply the pressure of the blows evenly around the coconut. You should end up with two halves that are approximately even. You may use a small handsaw to further even the edges, if you prefer.

Remove the flesh of the coconut by carefully prying it away from the interior of the shell with a sharp paring knife. Rinse the flesh of the coconut in running water and refrigerate to eat or use in recipes later. Place the coconut halves (with their open sides facing upward) in a dry, ventilated area for seven or eight days.

Smooth the outside of the coconut with sandpaper and polish the coconut inside and out with a thin layer of olive or coconut oil to add shine and act as an additional moisture barrier.

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