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How to open a coconut with a chefs knife
by John Kohler
(see Also how to open with a cleaver)

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE: The author, and   this web site will not be responsible for injury caused by these instructions.   Do not let children open coconuts.   Please use these instructions at your own risk, and be careful.  If something does not "feel" right for you, please do not proceed.

Step 1 - Get the coconut Ready

Make sure the coconut is on a flat surface, and your work surface is free of clutter, and anything the knife blade might bump into while you are cutting.

Step 2 - Get the right tools

I use a $10 chef's knife that was purchased from Target. (Don't use the family heirloom knife!). I have never broken a knife opening coconuts, but it is rough on the knife.  It will dull fast, and the tip may break if the knife is too thin, or you use an improper technique (not sticking the tip in enough when opening).   You will also need a spoon with a thick handle (many spoons will bend when scooping out the meat)

Step 3 - Cutting off the husk.
Now turn the coconut on its side, and cut off the husk of the coconut, so that you reveal the hard coconut shell.  Be sure to cut all the husk off to reveal the hard coconut shell.

Step 4 - Find the Veins
Find the three "veins" that run down from the center of the coconut.  You will put the tip of the knife 1" down from the center of the top of the coconut between the veins (as shown in picture).  
Step 5 - The Tap
Now tap the handle end of the knife so that it will put pressure on the coconut shell.   Some coconuts shells are thinner than others, so this step may require some hard tapping.  Once the knife breaks thru the shell, ensure it enters the coconut at least one inch. Be sure the knife is at the angle specified by the picture.

Step 6 - Change the angle
Once the knife has entered the coconut about an inch, it should stand on its own.  At this point, you will lower the knifes angle (while still keeping the tip inside the coconut) to make the knife parallel with the countertop that you are cutting on.

Step 7 - Rotate the knife.
Now you will "rotate" the knife to the left. You will move your hand that is holding the knife, as if its a motorcycle grip and you are giving it the gas.   IMPORTANT: Be sure  the knife blade (ensuring the tip is still 1" inside the coconut)

coconut6.jpg (18078 bytes)

Step 8 - Rotate the other way.
Now you will "rotate" the knife to the right. You will move your hand that is holding the knife, as if its a motorcycle grip and you are giving it the gas.   IMPORTANT: Be sure  the knife blade (ensuring the tip is still 1" inside the coconut). Repeat Steps #7 and #8 until the top comes loose, and "gently pry it up.  This technique works well on "hard shell" coconuts.  Some coconuts may have a soft shell, and will need more work.

That's it!
At this point, the coconut top can be removed.  It should pop off.  You can now pour out the water, and take a spoon and spoon out the meat. 

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