The Best Ways to Open a Coconut at Home

The Best Ways to Open a Coconut at Home

Fresh coconut is delicious, but opening one can be tricky—especially if you don’t have any tools with you. Below are six methods of opening a coconut, ranging in complexity from basically smashing it against something sharp, to breaking out the power tools and getting surgical.

How to crack open a coconut without any tools

You don’t need anything but a hard, pointed surface and some courage to open a fresh coconut, and, if you do it right, you won’t even lose the coconut water.

  • First, find the “face” of the coconut, or the three dark spots that somewhat resemble two eyes and a mouth.
  • Follow the line between the eyes halfway down the side of the coconut. That line is where you want to strike it against a sharp rock or other hard object.
  • Hold the coconut so the line is perpendicular to the sharp edge of the rock/curb, then give it a good smash.

You should get a cleanish break along the center of the coconut that you can pry into. A little water might spill out, but if you’re quick enough you can still save most of it when you peel open the coconut.

How to open a coconut with tools

It’s possible to open a coconut with no tools at all, but unless you’re shipwrecked or something, using around-the-house implements will make opening that ‘nut easier and classier than the “just smash it against something” method.

How to drain a coconut with a screwdriver and hammer

It’s easier to open a coconut if you drain it of coconut water first. Here’s how to do that.

  • Locate the “eyes.” These are the weakest point in the coconut’s shell.
  • Poke a hole into an eye by driving in a screwdriver or nail with a hammer.
  • Pour out the coconut water.
  • If you have a drill, you can drill a hole into your coconut anywhere.

How to open a coconut with a hammer

Now that your coconut is empty of water, it should be easy to open.

  • Put the coconut in a cloth bag of some kind to keep it from moving.
  • Tap the coconut lightly around its “equator” with a hammer, rotating it as you go.
  • It should crack in half, although it won’t be that “clean” cut you need to make coconut bowls.
  • Alternately, if your coconut is in a cloth bag, you can just swing it around and slam it into the sidewalk, wall, or anything harder than a coconut. It’s not elegant, but it’ll open the thing.

Use your oven to open coconuts

An easy way to open a drained coconut is to put it in the oven for a few minutes, although this will heat up the coconut’s meat.

  • Set the oven to 375 or so.
  • Place the coconut on a cookie sheet.
  • Let it sit in the hot box until it starts to crack—about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Let it cool.
  • Now you can pry the coconut open easily from the crack, or give the crack a few taps with a hammer or the back of a knife make it easier to open.

Using a saw to open a coconut

If you need a neat cut because you’re planning to use the coconut shell to make bowls or a culturally insensitive Halloween costume, you’ll need a saw. A kitchen knife—even one of those electric turkey carving knives—is not the right tool here.

A handsaw could work, but make sure you have a vice or another way to keep the coconut immobile while you’re sawing. The best bet for a clean coco-cut, though, is to use power tools. A jigsaw would make short work of a coconut—insert the blade into the hollow “eye” and cut it apart, turning it with your hand. You could use a reciprocating saw too, but you’d probably need a vice to keep the nut from slipping away. A bandsaw would work, if there’s enough clearance. Once you get into power tools, coconuts don’t stand a chance.

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