You put the lime in the coconut then smash it all to bits!

If you’re like me then you were one of those people who always walked past the coconuts in the grocery store because, let’s be honest, how the heck was I going to open that thing!?! After doing some research on the internet I found out it actually isn’t that hard! All you need is a blunt object, a sharp knife, some muscle, and patience.

I planned on doing a video demo for you guys but my camera battery decided to die 🙁  So, I’ll go through a step by step process with pics!How to Crack Open a CoconutHow to Crack Open a Mature Coconut

I have chosen a mature coconut.  There are young coconuts and mature coconuts.  Mature coconuts will have more meat, but not as much liquid as a young coconut. Young coconuts also tend to be a bit sweeter.  The meat of a mature coconut is also more firm than a young one.  Here is what they both look like:

Young Coconut

Young Coconut

Mature Coconut

Mature Coconut

So how do you choose a good coconut?  First, give it a good shake, there should be a substantial amount of liquid sloshing around inside and it should have some weight to it. Second, you need to look at the eyes, there are three of them.  Make sure they are not mouldy or wet.  They should be firm and dark brown.  Also, there should be no visible cracks on your coconut and it should be a nice brown colour.coconutOnce you have picked your coconut you can now drain it.  With a sharp paring knife poke each eye. Two will be quite firm, but one you will easily be able to poke the knife into. coconut2 Keep twisting the knife until you have punctured through the coconut.coconut3Tip it upside down into a bowl or container and let it fully drain.coconut4At this point you should taste the water.  It is another good indication if the coconut is good or not.  The water should be mild and slightly sweet. It should not have a strong pungent or alcohol smell to it. If it does, then it has most likely gone bad.

Make sure you save the coconut water to drink later or add to your smoothies!

Now for the fun part! Cracking the coconut.  All coconuts have a natural seam going lengthwise between the eyes called the equator, this is where you will hit it. coconut5Positioning your coconut in one hand using the eyes as finger grips, begin firmly whacking it with your other hand using your blunt object. Many people use a little hammer or the backside of a large knife.  I didn’t feel comfortable using the back of a butcher knife, so I grabbed a pair of these pliers. coconut7 They worked just great! Keep rotating the coconut and hitting it.  Be careful not to get your fingers.  It took me about 5-10 good whacks before it cracked in half, but I did it!coconut6Once you have it cracked in half, take one half and place it face down between an old dish towel or pillow case.  Whack it a few more time to break it into a few pieces.coconut8Now you can detach the meat from the hard shell.  Take the same paring knife and run it between the flesh and the shell prying it upwards. The meat should pop off easily. Don’t worry about the brown skin, it is fine to eat, or you can peel it off with a vegetable peeler.coconut9Once you have all the meat off, give it a good rinse. coconut10 Congratulations! You just opened your first coconut!

Now you can either eat it as is, add it to a smoothie or make a number of things like coconut butter, cream or milk; or grate it and dry it for coconut shreds.

Next week I will show you how to make fresh coconut milk, yum!


  • Vanessa August 13, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Thanks so much!!! The last one we bought ended up in the bin! 🙁

    • thehappyhealthfreak August 13, 2014 at 10:17 am

      Oh no! Been there 🙁 Even when it looks good on the outside it can still be off. I’ve had ones where the water and meat looked great but tasted horrible. It’s also hard to get good ones up here in Canada since they have a far way to travel. But you usually can find a good one in the bunch. Good luck!!

  • fitfoodiemama August 13, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I have never opened a coconut because I was always afraid- you definitely make it look really easy, thanks for all the great tips!

    • thehappyhealthfreak August 13, 2014 at 10:18 am

      I was afraid too!! It’s surprisingly easy. You MUST try it 🙂

  • makewhatworks August 16, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    I always wondered how to do this – I will be buying a coconut next chance I get!

  • How to Make Your Own Coconut Milk | The Happy Health Freak August 20, 2014 at 7:45 am

    […] your own coconut milk.  Hopefully you were able to check out my previous post on picking out and cracking a fresh coconut.  Once you have removed the meat you can make a number of things including coconut butter, cream […]


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