How to buy a coconut

Take a heavy cleaver and, using the unsharpened side, hit the coconut all around its equator. If the coconut will not tell you where its equator is, it is probably because you have not gained its trust; in which case, use method two (below). Meanwhile, you may rest the coconut on any hard, unbreakable surface, or you may hold the coconut in one hand while hitting it with the other, as hands are well known to be unbreakable, especially when there are heavy cleavers involved. If you do go this route, you should first strip to your loincloth and oil up, and enlist someone to take your picture (before you swing) and send it to me. At the first sign of a crack, hold the coconut over a bowl to collect the water, which is well known to be not very useful, unless:
  • you have just found this coconut in the desert and need the fluid
  • you live in India and someone has recommended you use it to treat "women's problems"
  • your floor needs a washing, in which case you can skip the bowl part.
Then you can settle down to picking the white, edible parts off of the hard, brown, tooth-breaking parts. Or use a special grater!

Method two: preheat an oven to 400° F. Make two holes in the coconut, using an ice pick or a screwdriver, or whatever appropriate power tools you may have handy. Drain the water (if you skip these steps, your oven may be full of coconut shrapnel soon) and put the coconut in the oven for 15 minutes. Its shell should contract. Now hit the coconut with a hammer. The shell should come off. Even if it doesn't, it should be easier to pry the white meat away from the shell.

Method three: if you're pissed (either interpretation), or have injured yourself in any way from either of the preceeding methods, or you just like to throw stuff, find yourself a nice (clean-ish, this is food) flagstone or cement surface and throw that mother at the ground! Again! Again! Rinse the pieces, pick it apart, and share your goodies. Always share your goodies.

Also, always taste a small piece of the coconut just after you have broken it open. Unless you like rancid food.

Uncle baffo's best kept-secret

Screwing the coconut open

Another method, using only common household tools.
You need:

  • A hammer. Any hammer. Really. Well, maybe not a glazer's hammer or a jeweller's hammer, because they are too tiny to do real damage.
  • A screwdriver. It is an argument of faith among the Sufi that in every house there is an overly long and big screwdriver.
    It is the screwdriver that never gets used, because who the hell builds things with flathead screws with a half-inch head? Anyone with sense would be using torx or Phillips screwdriver. So the big stupid screwdriver never gets used or lost or broken - remember: only useful things suffer in life.
    That is why we still have Fabergé eggs.

Now, inspect the awe-inspiring hairy football-shaped thing. On one of the pointy ends (if you can't find the pointy ends, ask your parents or any responsible adult to find them for you), you will find some darker, depressed circles.
These circles were placed there by the benevolent forces of evolution so that you can proceed to the following step.
If you don't believe in evolution, just pretend that a benevolent celestial (or chtonian) force placed them for you. Anything, as long as you are happy and we can go along with the lovely coconut.

Place the coconut on your lap with the dark circles pointing upwards. If you placed it the wrong way round you must be either hanging off the ceiling in a Singapore sling or floating in space. In neither case you have any business playing around with dangerous hard-shelled Oceanic produce.

Now, the coconut being securely grabbed by your massively toned thighs (and possibly being kept in place by a bit of overhanging flab), delicately place the screwdriver tip in one of the black circles we mentione before. You remember them, right. Place the tip only in one circle at the time. If you manage to place it in two or more, please tell me how you did it. There could be money in it.

Administer a whack to the screwdriver handle with the hammer we mentioned before. In doing this you are using the screwdriver as a chisel, something very bad, very dangerous and possibly illegal. I am sure that the hammer could also have some legal complaint of his own, possibly mistreatment and larceny.
Proceed until the dark circle gives, and the screwdriver penetrates the coconut. If you have been overeager, you will find that the coconut is now nailed to your thigh, possibly even to your femur bone. The guys in the emergency room will have a lot of fun with that. Unless you were really overeager and managed to nail coconut and thigh to the chair or sofa you were sitting on. In this case,

  1. you used a very long screwdriver.
  2. you will slowly bleed to death, too embarassed to call for help, too nailed to do anything.
On the other hand, if the coconut was just over your testicles ... no, that's impossible. Nobody would ever do anything so stupid.

This is also the moment you realize that the last previous use of the screwdriver had somewhat involved the concepts of "grout drain clog earwax gunk WD-40 buargh". Very bad. But at least, the coconut milk will not be quite so bland.

At this moment, you will fasten your hungry lips on the coconut and start sucking, I know. Don't deny it, you will not be able to resist because, like a bloodhound smelling blood you are a coconuthound that has smelled the milk (bad analogy). Let me tell you what happens:

  1. You will get a mouthful of foul-tasting, raspy copra fiber - like after an attempt at oral sex with some very unsuccessful mutant.
  2. You will create a depression in the coconut. Why do you want a depressed coconut, you bastard?
  3. If you insist, a powerful vacuum will form inside the coconut and you will be sucked tongue first into the coconut.
  4. Your friends and relatives will never know what happened to you.
  5. You will live forever into a damn coconut! Naked into a coconut, bathed in coconut milk, in the warm, white, soft darkness! And don't think that it sounds "kinda sexy", because it is not!

So, listen to uncle baffo, and proceed to punch a second hole in the coconut, using the same method as above. Well, not exactly the same method, because you need to pick another dark circle to punch through. You would be surprised at how many people make this mistake.

At this point, overturn the coconut over a bowl and watch the milk flow out. This happens thanks to baffo's First Law of Fluidodynamics, enunciated as such: "Stuff goes in, and stuff comes out". Drink the milk immediately, or someone else will arrive and drink it. Which would suck, considering the mortal risks you have just run.
Once the coconut is empty, you can just bash it against a non-wooden floor, a concrete wall, a friend's head, an anvil, a giant stone hamster, just about anything that is both hard, rigid and not very valuable.

I got to being what I am through experience and coconuts. Many coconuts. A lot of experience. One day, I will tell you how to peel a pineapple. Now, that is hard.

The original South Indian method ...

  1. Strip off any loose fibers from the coconut.
  2. Wet the coconut thoroughly
  3. Find a flat hard surface and a bowl to put the coconut water in.
  4. The crown of the coconut has three black spots spaced at 120 degrees. There are also three visible ridges between the spots.
  5. Slam the coconut on the hard surface, aiming for the ridges. Do not hit too hard. It may take several blows to crack.
  6. When a crack appears, allow the water to drain into the bowl.
  7. Finally separate the two halves of the coconut completely.
  8. Slurp .. gulp the coconut water.

If it wasn't yummy then the coconut's not fresh.

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