Fresh coconut, both pieces and grated.

Fresh coconut, both pieces and grated.


Have you ever wondered how to open a coconut? Here’s the story…

Since my husband’s family is from Kerala, the land of coconuts, most of the recipes I prepare require grated or chopped coconut. In talking with some of my friends, I found that they were apprehensive about how to handle a coconut. Here is my process for opening a coconut:

  1. Poke a metal skewer into the eyes of the coconut. Usually only one eye is soft enough for the skewer to pierce through the husk.
  2. Pour the coconut water from the coconut into a bowl.
  3. Give the coconut one or two good whacks with a hammer to break it into several pieces. 
  4. Use a paring knife to cut pieces 1 to 2 inches wide in the coconut and use the knife to pry out the pieces.
  5. Cut off the brown skin with a knife or peeler.
  6. Grate or cut as needed.


  • Break the coconut outside since it does make some dust.
  • I use coconut water to add flavor to dishes instead of water. My husband loves to drink it but since it is not cold, I pass on it.
  • I grate my coconut in my food processor to save the skin on my knuckles.
  • Fresh coconut will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.
  • I keep my grated coconut in the freezer and pull out just the amount I need at any time.

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