Selection, Storage and Availability
Look for a coconut that is heavy for its size with no mould or mildew. Avoid coconuts with any liquid leaking out of the three black eyes at the top. When you pick up the coconut you should feel the water sloshing around. Coconuts can be stored at room temperature for up to six months. Coconut meat (removed from the shell) can be kept refrigerated for about four days. Drinking coconuts are coconuts that have been stripped of their husk and flattened so that they sit flat and the flesh can be easily pierced and the coconut water inside can be drunk. Coconuts are available all year round.
There are several ways to crack a coconut. One method is to pierce two of the eyes with a metal skewer or screwdriver; drain out the coconut water into a bowl; using a hammer, tap the coconut about one-third of the way from the eyes; keep tapping until it breaks open. Another method is to hold the fresh coconut in the middle of your palm; place a bowl beneath your hand to catch the liquid; then hit the coconut with the back or blunt side of a cleaver (DO NOT USE THE SHARP SIDE) until it cracks in half. Wedge a dull knife or screwdriver in between the meat and shell to pry them apart.
The meat and water from a coconut can be used to make coconut milk. To make coconut milk add coconut meat to a blender with coconut water. Blend adding hot water to get the required consistency. Freshly made coconut milk is far superior to the canned variety.
The juice from a coconut is called coconut water. It can be drunk and has recently gained in popularity as a nutritious drink.
Coconut is a good source of potassium and is high in saturated fat.
Coconut water is rich in potassium: a typical serving offers 569 mg, which is almost twice the amount in a banana. This mineral helps regulate blood pressure by counteracting the stimulating effects of sodium, of which it contains only 160 mg, and this in turn helps to prevent related issues like stroke, heart attack and hangovers.