World Coconut Day 2023: 7 Tips To Use Every Bit Of The Fruit
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Any region next to oceans and seas in the world, also known as tropical regions, always has one fruit in common—coconut. Grown on tall palm trees, coconut is a hard-shelled brown fruit with a fleshy white interior and translucent water. Most coastal regions of the world where coconuts are grown form the basis of not only culinary practices but also trade and commerce. This is the main reason why World Coconut Day is celebrated. 

Observed every year on September 2, World Coconut Day was established by the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC), headquarted in Jakarta, Indonesia. With members ranging from India, Indonesia, Thailand to Kenya and others, the APCC’s members produce 90% of the world’s coconuts. In each of these member countries, coconut plays a huge role in the culinary arts too. 

When it comes to coconuts and India, the vast coastline of the country is famed for the inclusion of coconut and coconut products in most fields of life, especially food. From coconut-based curries and snacks to desserts and beverages, Indian cuisine has it all. But to make anything with coconut, treating the fruit with respect and using it properly is very important.  

Video Credit: YouTube/Shilpa Shetty Kundra

This World Coconut Day, here is the ultimate guide you need to not only select the right coconut but also how to break it and use every part of the fruit. Take a look at these kitchen tips to handle coconuts right. 

Selecting The Right Coconut 

Like all fruits, coconut also ages and rots, especially since the inside of the fruit is packed with water and moisture. So, picking the right coconut should involve a number of checks. Go for heavier coconuts with no visible cracks or mold in the three eyes of the fruit. Shake the coconut and listen for the sound of sloshing coconut water—a true sign of freshness.   

Draining Coconut Water 

Once you have picked the right coconut, locate the three eyes of the fruit. Use a clean screwdriver or hardy corkscrew to pierce these three eyes carefully and make holes that go all the way through. Take a glass and tilt the coconut to drain the coconut water from the eyes. 

Cracking The Coconut Shell 

The hard shell of the coconut makes it quite difficult to get to the fleshy white fruit, but there’s a very easy way to do this. To crack open the shell, use a hammer or an iron or stone pestle to tap the equator of the coconut, that is the area that roughly signifies the centre of the fruit. A few hits should do it, but try to be as careful as possible with this step.  

Removing The Coconut Flesh 

Ideally, you will have two halves of a coconut when you have cracked the shell with care. Now, to remove the coconut flesh, you can use two easy methods. Either use a butter knife or any sharp, thin-bladed knife to slowly and carefully separate the coconut flesh from the shell, or use a spoon to slowly scoop out the soft flesh out. If what you need is grated coconut, then you can also use an Indian scraper to scrape out the flesh. 

Getting Rid Of The Brown Skin 

Unlike the white flesh of the coconut, the brown skin attached to it is inedible and bitter to taste. So, getting rid of the brown skin attached to the white flesh is important. To do this, all you need is a peeler. Gently peel off the brown skin to only keep the white flesh. Alternatively, use a paring knife to remove the coconut skin too. However, if you want to added fibre and nutrients, keep the brown skin on and make a coconut paste. 

Storing The Coconut 

For the coconut water, store the liquid in a sealable bottle and keep it refrigerated. For the fleshy bits, you can chop them up and store them in an airtight container. Alternatively, you can also make coconut paste, grated coconut and coconut milk and store these in airtight containers in the refrigerator. You can also freeze these coconut bits for long-term storage. 

Use Smartly 

There are plenty of creative and interesting ways to use every bit of the coconut fruit, including the coconut shells that easily double as organic bowls. Coconut water makes for a great refreshing drink, and also a base for smoothies, juices, cocktails and broths. The fleshy bits of the coconut can be added to everything from crispy snacks and tasty starters to curries, stews, desserts and more.