June 11, 2018
In recent years, coconuts have seen a boom in popularity as a superfood. Whether we are talking about beauty products like coconut oil serums, lotions, and hair products, or health products like trendy coconut water, milk, meat, cooking oil, or even cream – coconuts have certainly garnered a newfound limelight. But nothing truly beats cracking into a fresh coconut, especially a young coconut, with its high water content, creamy flesh, and nutrient-packed goodness. Young coconuts can be consumed entirely raw: drink the refreshing water, scoop out and eat the sweet flesh. While eating a young coconut out of hand is delectable, the preparation options for young coconuts are surprisingly plentiful, and definitely worth some experimentation. Here’s what you ought to know about young coconuts, plus some inspo on what in the world to make with them:
Young Coconut Taste & Texture
Perhaps obvious by its name, a brown coconut and young coconut differ in maturity. Young coconuts are harvested directly from the tree before they’ve had a chance to fully mature into the brown coconut and drop on their own. Before they’re shipped off to be sold commercially, their green outer skin is pared away, and what remains is a firm, white husk. The husk encapsulates a refreshing, sweet, and nutty tasting water, as well as a soft and creamy flesh that is oftentimes described as being gelatinous. The flesh is so supple that it can be easily scooped out with a spoon.
Young Coconut Origin
The coconut is a tropical crop and thrives in a hot climate. Since the coconut was cultivated and spread around the world early on in history, its exact origin is unsure, but it is believed that coconuts have roots along the coasts of India and Southeast Asia. Today, you can find coconuts growing in places like Thailand, Australia, the Virgin Islands, and Southern Florida.
Young Coconut Seasonality
Young coconuts are available year-round.
Young Coconut Nutritional Value
The young coconut’s flesh has few calories, it is high in dietary fiber, and has lots of potassium, as well as vitamin B. The coconut’s water is known to be an all-natural way to hydrate the body.
Young Coconut Storage
Young coconuts should be stored in a dry, cool place. It is recommended to refrigerate them. An unopened, refrigerated young coconut will last for about 2 weeks. An opened young coconut should be used as soon as possible, but will likely last up to 2-3 days in the fridge.
How to Open Young Coconut
Lay the young coconut on its side atop a secure cutting board. Use a large chefs knife to remove as much of the white husk as possible until you can see the nut. With the heel of the knife, score around the nut until it loosens. You should then be able to peel away the “lid” and access the water and flesh. Pour the water into a container, and scoop out the flesh with a sturdy spoon. If you’re a visual learner, here’s a quick video on how to safely open a young coconut:
Young Coconut Yield
Young coconuts will produce about 2 cups of water at maximum, and several large hunks of coconut meat.
What to Do with Young Coconut
Young coconut water and flesh can be incorporated into desserts, soups, curries, or blended into smoothies. The flesh can be used as a meat alternative for vegan and vegetarian friendly dishes. Some of our favorite uses of coconut flesh as a meat alternative are in ceviche, or dehydrated, smoked, and turned into "bacon". Below are a few recipes for inspiration:
Coconut, Raw Food, Vegan, Young Coconut, Coconut Water, Coconut Meat