How To Safely Open A Coconut Without Ending Up In The ER

The drink of summer is a coconut classic, and the idea of relaxing outside with a fresh piña colada always sounds amazing until you remember how difficult it is to crack this hard-shelled fruit. There are many varieties of coconuts, and some are easier to open than others. However, aggressively whacking one with a knife can be dangerous.

Young coconuts have a green outer shell and are picked early in the ripening process. They tend to be easier to open and have much softer, thinner meat inside. They are also filled with coconut water, which is high in electrolytes.

Of course, if you let the coconut ripen longer, it will become a mature coconut with a brown outer shell and firmer flesh. This hard outer shell of mature coconuts makes them even harder to open. While there are specific tools you can buy for this, using what you have at home is often easier. Opening coconuts can be a frustrating process, and as your patience goes, so does your precision. Following these steps and understanding the best way to approach this fruit will help you open it without too much stress.

There are several ways to safely open a coconut

When making your initial puncture, you should look for the part of the coconut where there are round dots that look like eyes. Puncture one of these spots with something round like a screwdriver or nail. However, this method only leaves a small opening to drain the liquid.

When you are ready to open the coconut completely, there are a few approaches you can take. One simple option is to place it in the oven and wait for the shell to crack. Alternatively, you can work out your frustrations by placing the drained coconut in a bag and swinging it into a wall or hard surface. If you prefer a more precise technique, rotate the fruit in place and hit the shell directly in the center until it cracks.

Unfortunately, these methods will likely leave you with a shattered coconut or uneven pieces at best. If you desire perfectly cut coconut halves, you'll need to secure the coconut in place and use a saw to cut it in half. If you opt for this opening method, don't throw out the coconut shells because they can be repurposed and used for bowls or other household items. 

A knife might be your friend

If you are looking for a fast, easy way to open a mature coconut that feels safer than a hammer or a saw, there is a technique you can use with a knife that doesn't put your hands or fingers in danger. How and where you place your knife on the coconut is the key.

Instead of using the sharp side of your knife, break the shell with the dull back of the blade. The important step is finding the weakest part of the coconut, which is on the opposite side of the "eyes" or brown circles. Once you have the weakest side of your fruit facing up, you'll want to place the unsharpened side of your knife about a quarter of the way down from the top and hit it without too much force until you see a decent size crack forming.

At this point, you can break the shell open and access coconut meat. Since you are using the blunt side of the knife, you don't have to worry about accidentally cutting yourself with an aggressive swing.