Opening a young coconut
There are a number of ways to get the water out of a young coconut, but it's best to be able to see the pulp inside to determine if it is a good coconut or if it has gone bad.
This method is the "easy" method and it takes longer than the "shove a knife into the top and tear off the lid" method, but it is much safer.
|This is a young coconut. It doesn't look this way in nature; people shape it this way. There should be no purple spots on the bottom, and it should be heavy (compare it to others). You won't hear any water sloshing around inside if you shake it because it should be full of water.|
|Using a heavy-duty chef's knife, remove the husk by shaving away from you. (I like the J.A. Henckels 7" santoku hollow edge knife; got mine at Target for $32, but you can use a bigger one; some people prefer a 9" knife.)|
|Don't worry, no water will spill out.|
|You want to expose at least this amount of shell, if not a little more. It isn't necessary to go all the way to the edge though.|
|There's a natural round "seam" in the top that you can't see. The idea is to thrust the "heel" of the knife (the pointed part just above the handle) into the seam, and when you get it, twist the knife and the "lid" will just pop up fairly easily.|
|If the lid starts to separate from the shell, but you can't get it completely open with the heel of the knife, then carefully use the tip of the knife to separate it to the point where you can grab the lid with your hand and get it into the position in the next photo.|
|Now look at the underside of the lid; the pulp should be snow white.|
If the pulp looks like this, spill it out and try and get your money back. Note: People who poke a hole in the the coconut and pour out the water into a blender and cannot see that the water is bad, often make smoothies using bad water if the pulp inside looks like this. That is why, even if you don't eat the pulp, it's best to open the coco by popping the lid so you can see if you got a bad one.
After drinking the water, some people also eat the pulp, using it in smoothies. Some do not. A very young coco will have hardly any pulp, and the little it does have will be soft. The firmer the pulp, the older the coconut is. But the pulp is almost all fat, and although non-cooked and plant-based, too much fat is too much fat. Personally, I don't find it scrumptious, so I don't eat it.
If you shaved off all the husk, this is what you'd have. And this person made a small hole just big enough for a straw, but this doesn't let you see the pulp. If you do this, and the water doesn't taste yummy, or tastes "off", toss it.
|As the coco ages, the water turns into pulp, but the pulp is hard. This is the stage of coconut used in processed foods and candy.|
The formaldehyde/coconut issue is an example of information that is both true and false at the same time, and it's also an example of statements being presented as the truth when there are no facts in evidence.
People hear that the coconuts are treated with formaldehyde and, assuming that the formaldehyde will therefore be in the water, circulate statements such as "I'm not going to drink the coconut water anymore because formaldehyde is a poison." And when these types of statements make the rounds, people can naturally assume that there is some kind of evidence in support of the implications that there is formaldehyde in the water.
And then there is always the possibility that these rumors also came from the sellers of organic coconuts as a way of marketing their product (which would be a shame, but human nature is what it is).
So just because A is true (cocos treated with something) doesn't mean that B must also be true (that the chemical gets into the water). And even though I'm an advocate of the philosophy of "better to be safe than sorry" I don't think it's in our best interests to merely accept a statement as the Gospel truth unless there's some kind of supporting information. Especially if when you think about it, something doesn't sound right. When I heard that the cocos were being treated to prevent the outside surface of the coco from being affected by things that would make it look unsellable, I understood the rationale for this, but didn't assume that the chemical would make its way into the water. Maybe if the coco was dipped in a tank of formaldehyde and left in it long enough, the formaldehyde would get into the water (and maybe not), but since the goal is just to protect the surface of the coco, there would be no reason to use any more formaldehyde or "dipping/spraying time" than is necessary to protect the outer surface; this just makes sense from a business perspective.
On an issue where my health is concerned, I'd like to see something that supports both the "do" and the "don't" positions... in this case, "don't consume cocos because of the formaldehyde in the water."
If you're concerned about coming in contact with any formaldehyde from the handling of the coco, simply wear kitchen gloves; I wouldn't leave the plastic on when cutting open the coco in an effort to not come in contact with formaldehyde because the plastic can be slippery, and this can increase the risk of injury when using a big sharp knife to open the coco.
Back to the Health101.org website