How to Eat Coconuts: Your Guide to Using Coconut in Your Food
Ever since coconut became incredibly popular, I have noticed that more and more people want to use it in their cooking.
Unfortunately, many of them have no idea how to eat coconuts.
When it comes to the whole, fresh fruit, most individuals don’t even know how to crack the drupe open!
Well, I'm here to help with this problem.
In this post, you will get a quick introduction to coconut, learn how to get it open, and what to do with the flesh.
So, let’s get a move on!
Can You Eat Raw Coconut?
The first question you may have is whether you can eat raw coconut.
Yes, you can! In fact, many cultures around the world incorporate fresh coconut into their cuisines.
Of course, no one eats fresh raw coconut just as it is. The ingredient is either added to other foods or sprinkled as a garnish.
You can learn more about how to eat coconut later on in the post.
Parts of the Coconut That You Can Eat
Now let’s move onto the parts of the coconut that you can eat. This is an important thing to address as coconut consists of numerous layers.
Thus, you need to know which portions you can safely consume.
Can You Eat Coconut Shell?
You can find the shell of the coconut inside the fibrous husk. It is brown and hard and holds the coconut meat and the water.
However, the coconut shell is inedible and can’t be eaten. It can be used for charcoal, jewelry, and trinkets.
Can You Eat Coconut Meat?
Inside the coconut shell, you will find thick, white meat. This part is completely edible.
It just has to be scooped out and it is ready to be used.
This portion of the drupe is what produces coconut milk as well. Once it is grated and soaked in water, you can then squeeze out the milk from the shredded meat.
Can You Eat Coconut Skin?
The coconut skin is the thin brown layer that sits between the coconut shell and coconut shell.
Although it may look like the shell, this layer is very soft. In many instances, it can stick to the coconut meat as you try to dislodge it from the shell.
This part of the coconut is edible. Nevertheless, most people don’t consume it by itself as it doesn’t taste as nice as the coconut meat.
The Benefits of Eating Coconut Meat
It has been established that you can eat raw coconut. The question remains, though: is fresh coconut good for you?
Well, you will be pleased to learn that it is. Fresh coconut has the following benefits:
It Could Lower Blood Sugar Levels
There is some evidence that fresh coconut can reduce blood sugar levels in adults.
Thus, you may find it easier to have stable blood sugar levels over a longer period.
As a result, you may be able to improve your long-term health and keep a wide variety of medical conditions at bay.
It Has a Significant Fiber Content
It is estimated that a single piece of coconut contains around 4g of fiber.
This level of fiber can help to keep your digestive system healthy and improve the overall function of the organs.
In addition, the high-fat content – about 15g per serving – makes it easier for fat-soluble nutrients to be absorbed by the body.
It May Help with Weight Loss
If you have ever considered eating raw coconut for weight loss, you may be onto something.
The high fiber content ensures that you feel fuller for longer and won’t feel like eating as much food. Naturally, this can lead to weight loss.
The study regarding blood sugar also found that fresh coconut could help with weight loss. Thus, consuming a small amount each day may result in you losing a few pounds.
It Contains an Adequate Amount of Vitamins and Minerals
Coconut milk contains a small number of vitamins and minerals.
Now, these amounts aren't enough to produce outright benefits. Nevertheless, they can count towards your total daily recommendation.
A Note About Saturated Fats
It should be noted that coconut meat does contain a significant amount of saturated fats.
As you may be aware, saturated fats can harm your heart health. Due to this, you need to ensure that you limit your consumption of fresh, raw coconut.
How to Prepare a Coconut to Eat
Before you can eat the coconut, you must first learn how to get coconut meat out of the shell.
I covered the exact mechanism behind this process in a previous post.
Still, here is a quick recap on how to cut and eat a coconut:
Step 1: Drain the Coconut
Since fresh, whole coconuts contain water, your first step involves draining this liquid.
To do this, you will need to poke holes in the ‘eyes’ of the coconut with a screwdriver.
Then, turn the coconut upside down over a container and allow the liquid to drain.
Step 2: Split the Coconut Open
To open the coconut, you will need either a hammer or a meat mallet.
Grasp the coconut firmly and hit it in a spot of your choosing. Most people will select the center point of the drupe.
Hit the same spot several times until you feel it weakening.
Then, imagine a horizontal line cutting the coconut in half. Continue to hit the coconut along this line until it cracks open.
Step 3: Extract the Coconut Meat
Place the two halves of the coconut facing downwards.
Then use your hammer to gently tap the shell all over. This should loosen the meat from the shell.
You can then use a butter knife to lift the loosened portions away.
There may be some of the soft brown skin still clinging to the meat. These portions can be removed with a vegetable peeler.
The Best Ways to Eat Coconut
Now let’s tackle how you can eat coconuts.
As you know, you can’t just throw in hunks of fresh coconut into your food. This won’t mix well with the other ingredients and won’t taste that great.
Most savory and sweet recipes call for shredded or flaked coconut. Now, be mindful that these are two separate things.
Shredded or grated coconut is quite small and fine. Flaked coconut, on the other hand, consists of large, thin slivers of coconut.
You can make shredded coconut by running hunks of coconut meat over a grater.
Use a vegetable peeler for the large, thin flakes.
How to Eat Fresh Coconut
You can use fresh coconut in the following ways:
- Homemade candy (chocolate covered coconut mounds)
- Sri Lankan sambol
- Coconut macaroons
- Coconut cake
How to Eat Toasted Coconut
It is quite easy to make toasted coconut.
You simply have to place the flaked coconut in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes. They will be well done when they are a nice, golden brown.
This is what toasted coconut can be added to:
- Tropical fruit salads
- Trail mix
- Muesli or granola
- Coconut cake
This is all you need to know about how to eat coconuts. You can now peel and eat your fresh coconuts with ease.
Riya Borah is a nutritionist educator and her job involves guiding people towards a healthier lifestyle. Growing up in India, Riya was aware of just how much coconut was used on a daily basis. This encouraged her to research the properties of this versatile drupe. It opened her eyes to both the limitation and possibilities of coconut. Her aim is to now educate as many people as possible about the best ways to utilize coconut in their own lives.