How to Remove the Husk From a Coconut

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To enjoy the meat of the coconut, you must first remove its tough outer husk.
Image Credit: santhosh_varghese/iStock/GettyImages

Whether you want to enjoy coconut meat or drink coconut water, successfully husking a coconut is often the biggest challenge. The husk of a coconut is extremely tough and doesn't even crack after falling from the tree. Fortunately, by following a few simple steps, you can find out how to open a coconut husk.


Drain the Coconut Water

Before you break open the coconut to remove the meat, it is best to drain the coconut water. If you purchase a young, peeled coconut from the store, you may want to drink the water directly from the coconut to bring some tropical vibes to your day. Since much of the husk has already been peeled from these coconuts, you can start by taking a chef's knife and cutting off the pointed end of the coconut. Then, with the same knife, cut a hole in the top of the coconut so that you can insert a straw and enjoy the water.


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The process is different when the husk is still on the coconut. Look at the end of the coconut and find the end with three dots, sometimes called the eyes of the coconut. Use a barbecue skewer to poke each eye to determine which is softest. Then, you want to make a hole through the softest eye that is about 1/2 inch in diameter. One of the easier ways to do this is with a screwdriver and hammer.


Make sure you wash the tools thoroughly before using them and always work on a cutting board so that you don't damage your countertops if the knife or screwdriver slips. Once you have made a hole in the coconut, drain the water.

Best Way to Open a Coconut

Now that the coconut has been drained, it is time to figure out how to cut open a coconut. There are a couple of options for breaking open the coconut and removing the husk. One way is to strike it with a meat mallet or similar tool. Place the coconut in a towel and hold it in your nondominant hand. Then, strike the side of the coconut. It may take several strikes for the coconut to crack.


An alternative method is to cook the coconut first. Place the drained coconut in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The outer shell should start to crack while in the oven. Remove the coconut and allow it to cool. Once you can touch the coconut without burning yourself, use the mallet or the back of your chef's knife to tap the coconut and finish breaking it open.


How to Remove Coconut Meat

Once the coconut is open, you need to figure out how to get the flesh or meat out of a coconut. If you baked the coconut, you should be able to easily scoop the coconut meat out of the shell using just a spoon. If you didn't bake the coconut or if the meat is still stuck to the husk, removing the meat may take a bit more work.


Place the opened coconut on your cutting board with the husk facing upward. Tap the husk with the mallet to help loosen the coconut flesh. Then, use a knife to peel the coconut flesh away from the husk. Finally, you may want to peel a coconut if there is still brown skin attached to the coconut flesh. You can do this as you would with any other fruit or vegetable by using a vegetable peeler.



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