Saturday, January 30, 2010

How to break a coconut

The coconut is often presented as a healthy food choice, which it is, as long as you are not allergic to it. Coconut meat has a lot of saturated fat, which is very good for the vast majority of us.

(I posted about this issue elsewhere on this blog: my own experience and research suggest that saturated fat is very healthy for most people as long as it is NOT consumed together with refined carbs and sugars from industrialized food products.)

Coconut water is a good source of essential minerals, particularly magnesium and potassium. So is coconut meat, which is rich in iron, copper, manganese, and selenium. Coconut meat is also an good source of folate and an excellent source of dietary fiber.

If you are buying coconuts at a supermarket, I suggest choosing coconuts that have a lot of water in them. They seem to be the ones that taste the best. Just pick a coconut up and shake it. If it feels heavy and full of water, that’s the one.

First you need to make some holes on the coconut shell to extract the water. I recommend using a hammer and screwdriver. The screwdriver should be used only for this purpose, so you can keep it clean. Nails can be too thin. Place the coconut over a mitten or towel, and make holes on the dark spots (usually three) using the hammer and screwdriver.

Once you puncture the coconut, move the screwdriver a bit to enlarge each hole. Then place the coconut on a cup or thermos, with the holes pointing downwards, and let the water flow out of it. Normally I use a thermos, so that I can keep the coconut water fresh for later consumption.

As soon as all the coconut water is out, hold the coconut with a mitten in one hand, and strike it with the hammer with the other hand. The key here is to hold the coconut with your hand. You need to strike it hard. It is a good idea to do this inside or right above a kitchen sink so that the shell pieces fall into it.

Do not place the coconut against a hard surface (e.g., ceramic tiles), otherwise you can either break that surface or send pieces of the coconut flying all over the pace. Strike different areas of the coconut until it breaks into 5 to 7 pieces.

Finally, remove the meat of the coconut with a butter knife. The hand that holds the knife should be protected with a mitten, because you will have to apply pressure with it.

Store the coconut water in a sealed thermos, and the coconut meat pieces in a sealed container, both in the refrigerator, to preserve their freshness.

Coconut water and meat have a slightly sweet taste because of their sugar content, which is small and packed in with a lot of fiber. 100 g of coconut meat has about 15 g of carbs, of which 9 g is dietary fiber; that is, 100 g of coconut meat has only 6 g of net carbs.

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