Bryan Au’s Raw In Ten Minutes motivated me to learn how to prepare and make a smoothie from a young coconut. Young coconuts yield clear coconut water and sweet, jelly-like meat quite unlike that found in a mature coconut. You can pick up a young coconut with the shell trimmed away at Asian markets, specialty markets, and food co-ops.
Coconuts are hot right now, with lots of talk about the electrolytes and minerals in coconut water and the healthy qualities of coconut oil. More than half of the saturated fat in coconut oil is a subtype that may have health benefits. The possible benefits of coconut are tantalizing but still being researched. They aren’t the proven wonder food they’re being claimed to be. Still, they are a very traditional food and not a bad thing to include in your diet.
The intimidating part of a coconut is getting it open. The produce clerk assured me that young coconuts are much softer than older coconuts and I’d have no trouble opening one with a chef’s knife.
I believed him, but still, I got out my seen-better-days chef’s knife with a broken tip and a blade that’s been ground away from its original shape. I jabbed the knife into the coconut near the pointed top and tapped it a little, but not decisively enough to break through. When it came down to it, I figured even my old chef’s knife was worth more than the coconut, got out a screwdriver and hammer and easily knocked a little hole in it without much effort. After that it was no trouble to saw off the top with the chef’s knife.
Once you get to the point shown in the photo, tip the coconut back up on its base before you cut further to avoid spilling the coconut water. Or, if you tapped the coconut first with a screwdriver and hammer, drain the coconut water first through that hole.
A better tool, which I’m sure people in tropical countries have handy when they deal with coconuts, would have obviated the screwdriver/hammer step. Even a meat cleaver would have been better. Whatever tool you use on the coconut, of course be careful.
Here’s the coconut with its top off.
After pouring the coconut water into a glass, I widened the opening a little to make it easier to spoon out the coconut meat. It wasn’t too hard. Some pro types use a spatula to remove the coconut meat: I’ll have to try that next time and report back.
The coconut water:
And the meat, which is soft and flexible, rather custardy:
You can see some brown flecks in the picture. That’s where a tiny bit of the coconut shell has stayed attached to the meat. I removed most of those. Since I was making a smoothie, I figured the Vitamix would take care of the tiniest ones. The Vitamix made short work of blending the coconut flesh and water smooth. I’m not sure how a low-powered blender or Cuisinart would do, but since the coconut meat is pretty soft I think it would still work. If you try it, please let me know.
It’s really good as is, sweet and creamy. I saw no need to add a sweetener and preferred it on its own without any added fruit. Enjoy! Tell me how you liked it in the and what your experience was with preparing the coconut in the comments below.
Nutritional information from Vegetarians in Paradise: 140 cals, 3 g. fat, 3 g. saturated fat, 50 mg sodium, 28 g. carbohydrate, 2 g. fiber, 15 g. sugar, 170 mg calcium.