Originally Posted by Olly75
This is all good stuff, but what about green coconuts, as on those straight off the tree with the husk still on them? Is there an easy way to get into them (apparently the meat is just as important as the water), or should I de husk before departure?
I enjoy working for my food but de husking might be a step too far!
Waiting on the travel lift
...have time for a coconut brain dump:
There are a few different varieties of coconut. Some are better for water, some for meat.
On my property in Guatemala
I have yellow husked drawf coconut and green husked large (tall) coconut trees. These two varieties, in both large and drawf tree sizes, are common in the W Carib.
The yellow husk coconut is larger and has a larger amount of water. The water is also sweeter. The drawf size makes them perfect for easy harvesting at cocktail time...yum...rum and coconut water, the perfect all natural cocktail. However, the meat in the yellow coconuts is thin and gel like.
The yellow variety husk and shell are not as tough as the green wich makes them easier just to hack a knotch in to collect the water. Careful when hacking the soft husk of either variety aboard a boat as the sap will stain gel coat (guess how I know!).
The green husked coconuts are smaller and contain less water. The water is good but not as sweet. The meat is thicker, very firm, a bit dry, and tasty. The green husked husk & shell are tougher so to collect the water it is easier to find the "soft eye" (there are 3 black "eyes" in the tip of the shell...one is soft). Punch out the eye and drain the water. I usually also give the shell a whack, with the spine of a machete, to crack it a bit so it flows faster.
Regardless of type of coconut we usually run the water thru a strainer to remove and debri created by opening. I drain into a glass via the strainer, so I can sample the water first...sometimes you get a bad/old one...then dump the water into a pitcher (you need a few for happy hour!).
The husks of both varieties turn brown after off the tree/with age, but you can still differentiate by shape. This is the time to remove the husk if you want to collect the meat. One way to do it, which requires being comfortable using a machete, is to chop the husk repeatedly near the more pointed end in line with the length of the coconut. Make several cuts in the husk in a radius around the tip, then elongate and deeping each of those cuts toward the other end...usually there is no need to go more than half way to the other end. Jam the sharp edge of the machete in each cut in turn and twist it from side to side so as to open the cut further and start separating husk from shell. Once it is loose enough you can just rip each section off the shell by hand. The dry husk is very fibrous and makes a good firestarter.
Once the husk is removed, you can remove meat by cracking the shell. I use the spine of a machete, but any blunt object will work
. It will likely (unless you are really really good) break apart in chunks with the meat still attached. You can separate meat from husk by sliding a stout knife between them and twisting...a chunk of meat will pop free..repeat.