A Bit Off the Top: How to Open a Young Coconut

October 3, 2023

There are two stages to opening a young coconut – cutting the excess coir and opening the coconut shell. In total, there are six steps involved in this process.

As a child, I watched all of the adults in my family cut open coconuts, and then, finally, it was my turn. I have spent years opening up coconuts and have perfected the process for me over this period. Now, I want to show you how to open a young coconut.

This post contains step-by-step instructions on how to get a coconut open. I also talk about the tools that I use as well as some of the options that you can try as well. Now, let’s get to work!

How to Open a Fresh Young Coconut

There are several stages to opening a young coconut. To make it easier to understand, these will be broken down for you…

How to Cut a Young Coconut

This involves removing the excess coir at the top of the coconut. You can then get closer to the coconut shell that houses the coconut meat and water.

What You Need

  • Peeled Young Coconut
  • Cleaver

Step 1: Identify the Point of Access

Set the peeled coconut on the counter so that it is balancing on the bottommost flat portion.

The top portion of the coconut may be slightly pointed – this is the portion that you need to remove.

Step 2: Position the Coconut Properly

Set the coconut on its side on a cutting board.

If this part is too rounded, remove some of the coir so that the coconut can remain still.

Grasp the coconut in your non-dominant hand, pressing it against the cutting board to steady it.

Step 3: Cut Away the Excess Coir

Use your cleaver to slowly cut away the coir. 

Make sure to move the knife away from you as you cut a piece off.

It is best to strip away small, thin pieces as these will be easier to cut through.

Eventually, you will expose the brown shell. Remove all the coir from the shell so that the topmost part is completely uncovered.

Fresh coconuts in the Asian market

How to Open a Coconut with a Knife

Now it’s time to open the coconut shell. You will need to apply some strength and pressure as the shell can be a bit tough.

What You Will Need

  • Butter knife
  • Chef’s knife

Step 1: Locate the Soft Spot

The curved top of the coconut shell be exposed.

Take the butter knife and press the knife along the bottom of the exposed portion. Make sure to use significant strength.

When your knife hits a soft spot with enough force, the knife will penetrate the shell.

Step 2: Create Leverage in the Shell

Dig the butter knife into the shell and create a sizable slot.

This is what you will use to place the chef’s knife and open up the coconut.

Step 3: Cut the Top of the Coconut Off

Place your non-dominant hand on the side of the coconut and hold it in place.

Slip the chef’s knife into the slot.

Move the knife horizontally so that it is slicing through the top of the coconut. Make a sawing motion to move through the shell more easily.

Make it a point to steady the coconut so that it doesn’t slip during this process.

Once the coconut has been opened, you will have access to the coconut water. You can slip a straw in and enjoy the drink right away. If you wish to store it for later, pour the coconut water into a jug or container. Then, you will be able to get to the meat. The young coconut meat can easily be scooped out with a spoon. If you are having trouble reaching all the meat, you may need to create a wider opening in the shell for better access. 

Related Reading
How to Get the Meat Out Of a Coconut: A Step-By-Step Guide

Do You Need Tools to Learn How to Open a Green Coconut?

There are actually coconut opener tools that you can purchase.

These can include mallets and other sharp tools to help you get the outer layers of the coconut open.

Now, some people may find these tools quite useful, particularly if you have never tried your hand at this task before.

At the same time, people have been cracking open coconuts with readily available tools for years.

In Thailand, for instance, you will find street vendors whacking open green coconuts using nothing but cleavers.

In the end, this decision is up to you. You can choose to buy a set of tools or learn to do it the old-fashioned way!

shaved broken coconuts

How to Open a Shaved Coconut – Do You Need to Peel It Further?

Most of the coconuts that you buy have the tough husk removed.

Thus, you are left with the coir that houses the shell.

This coir can be rather thick on all sides. Thus, you need to determine whether you need to shave it down further.

Now, this is only really necessary if you want to get to the meat of the coconut.

Since you will require a wider opening to do this, you may need to remove a larger portion of the coir.

This can be done with the help of a cleaver or a similarly sized knife.

If you are only going to extract the coconut water, though, you only need to hack off the top of the coconut.

As such, there is no need to go through the hassle of shaving down the rest of the coconut.

Is It Easy to Learn How to Open a Young Coconut at Home?

Coconuts can seem like rather tough and sturdy fruits or drupes.

Thus, the idea of hacking away at them to get them open can seem like a job reserved for professionals.

Despite how it may look, it isn't all that difficult, although there is a bit of learning curve involved.

Now, you do have one advantage on your side – young coconuts are easier to open than mature ones.

This is because green coconuts have softer shells than brown coconuts. Therefore, you should find it easier to get through.

This concludes your guide on how to open a young coconut. Thanks to this information, you will have no problem enjoying fresh coconut water and meat in the future.

An Important Disclaimer
The information on this page should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a doctor if you wish to consume any kind of tea regularly for the purpose of treating any condition or illness.
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