How to Cut a Coconut – Gather All of the Pieces and Make Your Own Coconut Oil!
How to cut a coconut is one of those challenging but rewarding skills that many of us learn in our younger days. It requires a lot of patience and also a fair amount of manual labor. The first step in cutting coconuts is finding yourself a good knife. You can get a fairly cheap one for under $20 at any big box store like Walmart or Target.
Take the knife and carefully begin to cut through the coconut skin with light pressure. If you have sharpened it, then this may be somewhat difficult, but not impossible. With the right kind of knife in hand, once you get into the heart of the coconut you can cut it off with more precision than if you had not been using any tool at all. If you find the knife to be a little too heavy to take a step back and try something lighter.
Next, you need to find a clean towel or an old pair of jeans. Take both the knife and your towel and place them on the ground next to each other. Then, use your palm to firmly grasp the edge of the knife while you apply pressure on the blade to cut the coconut up into chunks. Do not worry if the coconut pieces seem difficult to separate from each other. This is perfectly normal and there is no need to worry about breaking them apart.
Once you have removed the large pieces of meat, take your sharp knife and cut away the smaller pieces of flesh by slicing across the grain of the meat. Once you have gotten rid of the larger pieces of meat to place the pieces of meat in a bowl, fill with warm water and let them soak for a few minutes to soften them up. Now it is time to work with the pulp. Take your clean and dry towel and slowly massage the chunks of flesh until they are soft.
Use this soft material to separate the coconut from its shell. Do not be tempted to remove the coconut right away. It will still have some juice in it and when you try to remove it the more oil in the fruit will start to seep out making it even more difficult to get the coconut out.
Once the coconut has separated from its shell you can gently squeeze the coconut’s flesh out. If it seems that the liquid is still a bit hard to manage don’t worry. You can add a little liquid (just a small amount) to help liquefy the mass of solid coconut. Add a little more coconut milk if necessary to wet the mass of coconut and then proceed to break it up further. Once you have broken it up further just place it into the strainer and gently squeeze the solids again. Keep in mind that there is usually around three tablespoons of coconut in each glass.
You now have three items: hard, soft, and liquid. The solid mass of coconut that you collected can now be separated into two different parts: the copra and the coir. The copra is the inside content of the coconut that is solid and can be used for cooking. The coir is the outside content of the coconut which is the fluffy white coating on the interior that makes it so nice to eat.
The next step in learning how to cut a coconut is to drain all of the solids off of the coconut shell. To do this you will need to drop a large piece of cloth (a washcloth or gauze works well) into a large hole in the center of the coconuts. Use this cloth to wipe the excess water off the coconut and any other liquid that may have remained on the coconut. Place the coconut on a cutting board and then carefully cut it down into two sections with each section resting securely on its own piece of the board. This should leave you with a nice rectangular piece that you can now use to grate the remaining coconut meat.