How to open a coconut?

Okay, I’ve got this coconut, now how do I open this thing? I believe I’ve heard you can put it in the oven (after draining the milk, of course) and the heat will crack the shell. Am I talking crazy, or does someone know of this method? What kind of time/temperature do I need?


From the upcoming May 2001 issue of Country Living Magazine. Now do me a favor and go drive up our newsstand sales, everybody.

And here I always just beat the heck out of it with a hammer. Also liked the ice-scate trick from Castaway

I assume by the way that you ask the question that your coconut is already out of the husk. Are you certain that there is milk in it?

I have never heard of putting a coconut in an oven. Whilst in Belize we would eat fresh coconut. Since there was little to no milk in them simply smashing them open lead to the wonder that is fresh coconut. I can’t eat it any other way.

:rolleyes: Oven, schmoven. Do it right–chop an end off with a machete. Or do as I did when I needed one cut in half for a science-class presentation in 6th grade, and use a hacksaw.

Why do you have to bake the coconut? After draining the milk out, I cut it in two with a hacksaw and pry the meat out with a (clean) screwdriver. When you’re done you’re left with two coconut shells that are great for making galloping horsey sound effects.

Some years ago my wife and I thought we’d move to Hawaii right after getting married. No job so we moved back to California. Anyway, we were never able to find coconuts for sale in a grocery store over there and couldn’t figure out why. That is, until one day we noticed that on trash day people were leaving coconuts stacked up with their trash cans to be hauled away! So from then on we’d collect enough coconuts on trash day to last us for the week. Of course, they were still in the husk unlike the ones you find in the grocery store. Getting them out of the husk was nearly as difficult as opening the shells!

But the coconut is tropical! This is a temperate region!

[sub]Oh, the horror of what I have begun…[/sub]:smiley:

Step One: Grasp empty coconut firmly
Step Two: Throw it onto concrete as hard as you can.
Step Three: Repeat Step Two until coconut is in pieces.
Step Four: Pick up pieces
Step Five: Wash pieces
Step Six: Enjoy!

Easier way than that stupid oven trick ;)…
You can either drain the water first by puncturing the “eye” holes, or, you can open it AND drain the water at the same time. I do the latter.

  1. get large bowl to catch leaking water. You may want to use a piece of cheese cloth to catch bits of broken shell and fibers.
    2.Hold coconut firmly in hand. Get a rather heavy cleaver or butcher’s knife.
  2. Firmly strike the coconut shell along the middle with the back of the knife.
  3. Continue firmly striking it, you’ll soon notice it start to crack.
  4. Continue to hit the coconut along the middle, the crack will follow where you strike it with the knife
  5. Water will come out as soon as the crack is large enough, and also, the coconut will automatically split in two.

Now, if you’re too prissy to use knives this way, a hammer will work fine also. Plus, this way has the added benefit of not sending pieces flying everywhere.

In the Philippines, i believe it is done this way, at least that’s how my family does it. And, if you can get your hands on a coconut scraper (the one we have is like a wide bladed chisel cut with teeton the blade end, and nailed to a 2 X 4), it’s pretty damn easy to remove meat that way also.

You’re making it a great deal harder than you need to.

I lived on a very small and isolated island in the Pacific for a number of years, and I opened a good number of coconuts daily. But let me figure out precisely what you have.

1.) Is it a green coconut, or one of the dried brown ones? The greens have better milk and more nutricious meat, but since you are probably stateside, it is probably the brown.

2.) If it is the brown one, is it the whole coconut or is it the nut itself? The whole coconut is smooth and will not be very oval. The nut is more roundish and probably seemes kind of hairy. Generally speaking if you are stateside which I assumed to be the fact in #1, you probably purchased it in a store which makes it is even more probable that it is the nut.

3.) Hi Opal!

4.) There is a relatively easy way to open these, without ovens, hacksaws, walls, or screwdrivers. Measure about one and a half inches from the top (the end with the eyes) draw a circle at that spot all the way around the nut. You can use a magic marker, a nail, a crayon, or whatever (on the islands you just eyeball it, but the first couple of times you might want to draw the circle). Now find a sturdy knife (Good sized buck knife, relatively heavy butcher knife, a good hunting knife), and using the back side of the blade sharply (good brisk hit) hit along your line turning the nut a little each time you. Nothing will appear to be happening, but on your third, fourth or fifth time around (depending on how hard you are striking it) a fissure will appear roughly along the line. About three or four more times around (when the crack is clearly all the way around the nut) you will be able to lift off the top (something like a stopper in a bottle). It may take a little prying with the knife.

Pour out the milk into some container. Old coconut milk isn’t that great, but you may want to try it anyway. Copra, or coconut meat can be used in any number of ways, and you also can extract the coconut oil from the meat itself if you so choose.

There is also a trick to getting the copra from the inside of the shell. If you want to know that just request and I will fill you in on that too. If you do want the copra don’t smash the shell. That just makes it harder to remove the meat.



Should mention, you can get some spill. You probably should do the final couple of steps over the sink.


The easiest way I’ve found is to drain the coconut first, then smash it with the CLAW end of the hammer, laterally across the center of the coconut. It’ll eventually dent through, and split.


I would just tape 3 inches of FLSC to the coconut and wrap it in det cord. You might want to do this inside some sort of big metal box to catch all the pieces. Good Luck :smiley:

Uh…Good luck enjoying it this way. I live in Malaysia and the students at the school I work for have tried this rmethod from the top of a three story building. After three hours they gave up in disgust. They have now turned to hack saws or hamers and screwdrivers.

Growing up in Puerto Rico, the methods I observed were:

(a) Slicing off the top of the whole coconut (husk & all)with the machete; if you don’t hit the nut right away you keep slicing tangents off until you make it to the nut and then you hit the coup-de-grace. (Attempt this motion with the whole coconut, and on a working surface, if you fear the nickname “Stumpy.”)

(b) With the already husked nut, the back-of-the-cleaver/knife method depicted by TV time.
Also an important note:
There is not “coconut milk” inside a fresh coconut.

Inside a fresh-picked not-fully-ripe coconut there will be a thin layer of coconut “meat” and a lot of a cloudy-translucent liquid known as “coconut water”. Inside a fully ripe (fall-off-the-palm ripe) coconut there will be a thick layer of the “meat” and less “water.”

Coconut “milk” (white, opaque liquid) is made by grinding the coconut “meat,” bringing it to a boil in a mix of coconut water and plain water, and straining the results.

  1. Throw coconut at rock wall until tired.
  2. Hit coconut with rock until rock breaks.
  3. Use fragments of broken rock to bust open.
  4. Open a FedEx package with ice skates in it and use that instead.

Saw that in a movie.

Oh, like we throw bricks at 'crete already? Wouldn’t he duck something that big?


BTW, I use a big hammer and a strong arm. I think more problems could be solved if that method was in wider useage.

Tie on a long piece of string, then find a bush, or something to hide behind, close to a highway…

It’s popular in Florida because it’s neater and simpler than splattering bits of coconut across the kitchen. About 20 minutes at 250 degrees Farenheit usually puts a crack in the side. A child can open it the rest of the way with a screwdriver and maybe a few taps from a hammer.

If you buy your coconuts in stores (woe is you) remember to shake them first. If you don’t hear a slosh then the coconut is too old to eat.

A table saw might do it, or dynamite. Come to think of it, a drill press, too. :smiley: