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What exactly do coconuts look like? Normally when we think of coconuts we think of a beautiful white sandy beach, waves crashing on the shore, the sun shining brighter then ever, and coconut trees sprouting up from the ground, shading the beach. And on those trees are little brown balls with three small holes on the top.
Actually the normal size of a coconut is about the same as a small seedless watermelon, and it is naturally encased in a thick, tough husk. No matter how many times you try to smash it on rocks or on concrete, it will never break open. I think they taste best when they are young. You can tell if they’re young if the outside hull is green. But when they’re old, they are muddy brown. You can still eat them even though they are old, but they just don’t taste as good, in my opinion.
We work with a tribe up in the highlands where it’s cold. There are no coconut trees close to us, but down on the tropical coast there are coconut trees everywhere. When we come out of the tribe to have a break, we stay at a guesthouse on the coast. There are actually 10 coconut trees right on the property, and they are always dropping their harvest.
One day we wanted to know how to open the coconuts in a professional way, so we asked a couple of local ladies to teach us how. You basically hold the top and cut the bottom off all the way around with a machete. Then you slice down into it many times until you have cut it all the way around, kind of like what you would do with a watermelon. Then after you pull off all the strips of husk, you are left with a little round coconut.
After that, you shave off the top where the three holes are. Once you start to see white, you get a knife and poke a hole in the meat of the coconut. Before you break it open, you have to pour out all the milk inside. Once all the milk is gone, you can get the back of the machete and knock it until it breaks open. If it is a young coconut, you can scoop out the meat pretty easily; but if it is an old one, it takes a bit more time and strength. The whole process takes about five minutes if you’re fast, but for beginners, it probably takes eight minutes.
Now that you know how to open a coconut, you should ask your mom to get one the next time she’s at the grocery store and see if she will let you try to cut it open. If she does, make sure you are careful not to cut yourself!
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