How To Open Young Coconuts

A common ingredient in live food recipes is young coconut, or Thai young coconut. Thankfully, after several weeks where these tasty items have not been available, they have arrived back on the shelves of our favorite market here in Atlanta. I have been wanting to make  curry coconut strips for my raw sandwiches, not to mention Dr. Opare’s amazing chocolate shake. I have also wanted to try some coconut wraps. The coconut water is a great pick-me-up when you are fasting or worn out due to exercise.

I will be sure to post the recipes mentioned above as I make them. Dr Opare’s chocolate shake recipe is available in my book, Food For The Soul From Ama’s Kitchen.

For some folks the process of opening a coconut is a big challenge. I have heard of people using drills, cleavers, machetes, and brute force in an attempt to open them. I do believe the machete is probably the traditional way to open them however most of us probably don’t really have the skills to wield them.

Fortunately all you really need is a chef’s knife. Choose a knife that has a sharp corner on the heel of the blade where it connects to the handle. This method does not take a great deal of strength either. A cleaver works too but I find the chef’s knife is easier to handle.

  1. Trim off the white part from the top of coconut
  2. Crack the hard shell by carefully hitting the coconut with the heel of the knife.
  3. Once your knife is embedded in the shell lift and twist the handle until the top ‘pops’ off.
  4. If needed turn the coconut ¼ tun and go back to step two.
  5. Pour the water into a glass or pitcher.
  6. Use a spoon to scrape out the meat.

Here is a video of Dr. Opare opening a young coconut.

Have you ever struggled with opening your coconut? What’s your favorite way to use young coconuts? Tell us about it below.


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Helping my coaching clients go from vegan wanna-be to Unshakably Vegan! From meal-time boredom to loving what they eat. From self-sabotage to taking control. From tempted by all the wrong choices in their non-vegan world to making the right decisions. And from sick and tired to vibrant and healthy. Discover your personal recipe for success and abundant health! BE UNSHAKABLE!

4 Comments on “How To Open Young Coconuts

09/21/2014 at 12:01 pm

Alicia Cohen has an easy way to open the young coconut. You just make sure you have a knife with a sharp heel and crack around the top of the coconut and lift the corner of the coconut as you go around. There’s a square area around the top. Once you lift that up, then pour the coconut water in a container. Make sure the coconut is white inside and the water is clear. Old coconuts may have pink flesh and colored liquid – not good. I found this to be the easiest and quickest way to open the young coconut.

Ama Opare
09/22/2014 at 1:41 pm

Yes we have used that technique too. Same basic concept. Whatever works!

Heru Setepenra Heq-m-Ta
09/16/2014 at 2:29 am

Greetings and Good Morning Ama! In your blog, “How To Open Young Coconuts,” you mentioned that young coconuts had “arrived back on the shelves of our favorite market here in Atlanta.” I am new to the area, so will you be so kind to give me the name of the “market,” so I, too can visit and patronize this establishment? I thank you in advance for your assistance.

Ama Opare
09/16/2014 at 9:46 am

Good Morning Heru Setepenara Heq-m-Ta and welcome to Atlanta! The Delkalb Farmers Market which is really a more like a giant warehouse store has an incredible range of fresh organic produce, and staple items such as beans and other dry goods, oils, nuts, and more and has good prices. (It also has a huge meat, seafood and cheese section but just stay to the right hand side of the store and you can avoid that!) It really is a world market as they carry many fruits and veggies and staples that are used around the world. In addition the staff is international. It is VERY busy on weekends so aim for the weekday if possible.
I also have discovered a farmers market at the Wrens Nest in the West End on Sunday afternoons. Brother Muhammad has very nice locally grown, organic produce.
Lastly check out Truly Living Well Farmers Markets for more locally grown produce.


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