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The inside scoop on Young Thai Coconuts

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Young Thai Coconuts have become an important and popular ingredient in the raw food world.  They can be intimating for some people and just flat hard to find for others.

The other day I bought a case of coconuts from Whole Foods. They were on sale, 2 for $5 which is a pretty good deal.  Prices can range from $1.50 – $5.00 apiece, depending on where you get them.  When I find a good deal, I buy 1 or 2 cases, then process, and freeze all of them.  It may not be as optimal as buying fresh and using fresh, but I do the best I can, when I can.  I hope that some of the information that I provide below, it will help de-mystifiy this amazing fruit!

The inside of a Young Thai Coconut can be a real mystery.  They can look all dreamy and beautiful on the outside but you never know what you are going to get on the inside, much like a box of chocolates!  When you find a recipe that you want to try, it might ask for 2 cups of coconut meat or 1/2 cup of coconut water.  The real question is, “Just how many coconuts will I need?”  There is NO solid answer for this.  You never know what you will get when you crack open a coconut.  To show you just how different each coconut is, I documented the amount of meat/flesh and the amount of water/liquid that I got from each coconut.

Coconut #1 ~  Liquid 386 g = 1 3/4 cups ~~~ Flesh 94 g = 1/2 cup

Coconut #2 ~  Liquid 342 g = 1 1/2 cups ~~~ Flesh 100 g = 1/2 cup

Coconut #3 ~  Liquid 312 g = 1 1/2 cups ~~~ Flesh 124 g = 1 cup

Coconut #4 ~  Liquid 396 g = 1 3/4 cups ~~~ Flesh 118 g = 3/4 cup

Coconut #5 ~  Liquid 412 g = 2 cups ~~~~~~Flesh 54 g = 1/4 cup

Coconut #6 ~  Liquid 468 g = 2 1/8 cups ~~~ Flesh 204 g = 1 3/4 cup

Coconut #7 ~  Liquid 196 g = 1 cup ~~~~~~~ Flesh 36 g = 1/4 cup

Coconut #8 ~  Liquid 312 g = 1 1/2 cups ~~~ Flesh 132 g = 1 cup

Coconut #9 ~  Liquid 302 g = 1 1/2 cups ~~~ Flesh 96 g = 1 3/4 cup

As you can see the weight and volume of each coconut was all over the board.  Sometimes the flesh was thick and hard to get out and other times it was almost jelly like.  Both taste just fine.  The more mature a young coconut is, the thicker the flesh, but to be honest I have yet been able to judge a coconut by its outward appearance.  In all the years that I have been cracking and opening these amazing jewels, I have witnessed pink flesh, no flesh, super thick flesh and jelly-like flesh.  My best advice is to always buy 2 coconuts more then what you think you will need.  And if you get a bad one (with pink or purple flesh) just return it to the grocery store.  Most stores are usually good about exchanging them.

In the photo below, I wanted to show you just how different the meat can be.
As you can see the coconut meat on the left is very firm and thick and the meat on the right is super soft and thin.

Once you remove the meat from the shell, rinse it under the faucet to remove any brown flecks that might
have stuck to it.  Do not soak the meat in water, as this can cause it to break down.  I won’t
go into detail on how to open a coconut.  There are oodles of YouTube videos on how to do this.  You will find
that there are tons of different techniques, use the one that YOU feel most comfortable with.

When I process large amounts of coconuts to freeze, I separate the flesh into two different bags.
I place all the firm pieces in one bag and the softer ones in another bag.  I like to make coconut noodles
out of the firm meat.  Then the softer meat can be used for cheesecakes, coconut yogurt and so forth.

How to select a Young Thai Coconut:

  • Look for white coconuts with the least amount of blemishes. 
  • Examine at the bottoms. Avoid the ones that have mold, cracks, or large holes in them.  These holes can burrow into the coconuts and molds can set in.
  • The bottom will have a soft spot, much like the top of a newborn’s head. :)  This is fine.
  • Pink is not a fashionable color for these young coconuts.  Pink water or  flesh… don’t use.  This can be a sign of mold.

I wrote a post several years ago on how to make milk and cream from Young Thai Coconuts.  I also share some of the health benefits.  So please visit there if you want to read more about them.  You can even take coconut meat, add a little coconut water, blend it till smooth, and set it in the fridge and it will become a firm, smooth yogurt/pudding like treat!  So, if you are new to using Young Thai Coconuts, I encourage you to give them a try.  It can open a whole new world of possibilities. :)

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37 thoughts on “The inside scoop on Young Thai Coconuts

  1. emma green says:

    we can only get aged coconuts here in the UK :-( they still have their uses and taste great though :-)

  2. Severine says:

    We can find young thai coconuts in the UK too except they’re not as common. In London I find them at See Woo stores (large chinese stores) but also occasionally in small Asian corner shops. Just have a look around. They are sometimes sold whole though, ie with the whole green ‘husk’ rather than white, outer shell removed and pointed at the top (as in the picture above).

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Severine for sharing that. Great info for others! It can be tricky to find them even here in the US so we all have to help one another. hehe Have a wonderful evening. amie sue

  3. Blanka says:

    You are so right! I was lucky enough just recently on a holiday in Costa Rica to have the largest coconut ever – I think it was picked that morning and was the size of a football – there must have been a liter of liquid inside and the flesh was soft and delicious.

    To Emma Green – sometimes you can find green coconuts in local ethnic markets or shops or Thai coconuts in oriental supermarkets, at least in London. They do tend to be quite expensive though!

    • amie-sue says:

      OOoooooh Blanka… that just sounds absolutely dreamy. Liquid Gold – that is what I call it. :) Thank you for sharing that info for Emma. It is always challenging for other countries or shoot even here in the US to find certain ingredients. I appreciate that. Have a wonderful evening, amie sue

  4. Dawn says:

    i have always hated the supermarket coconut… yuck! but now that i’m experiencing the REAL meat and juice (for my smoothies), i LUV it! i also freeze the meat for future smoothies. thanks for the insight!

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you for sharing Dawn… to me the flesh and water of these coconuts are like liquid gold to me! I have been known to chase down spilt coconut water with a straw on my counter top. lol Sad but true :) Have a wonderful week! amie sue

  5. Jesse Gabriel says:

    Hallo Amie Sue.
    Ich hoffe ich darf den Link setzen, wenn nicht, können sie ihn ja wieder löschen. Vielleicht hilft es ja den einen oder anderen weiter.
    Hier kann man gute Kokosnüsse bestellen.
    http://www.coconow.de/

    Viele Grüße,
    Jesse

    • amie-sue says:

      Google translate for Jesse…

      Hi Amie Sue.
      I hope I can put the link, if not, they can delete it again yes. Maybe it will help further one or the other.
      Here you can order good coconuts.
      http://www.coconow.de/

      Best regards,
      Jesse
      __________________________

      Jesse, I really appreciate that you shared that link. You are helping many others that may live in your area and have trouble finding them. amie sue

  6. Mamabird says:

    I love to take the meat and the water and blend together. I add a little each day to my smoothies. I had no idea I could freeze them. Yaay! Now I can buy several them on sale. I’d love to try coconut yogurt. Maybe I can find a non dairy yogurt starter?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello there Mamabird :) I have been freezing the meat and water from the coconuts for years now. Last year I would process a case of them for my girlfriend every few months so she could freeze it and use it in her morning smoothies… works well. Regarding the yogurt starter – I just made a coconut yogurt last week. I will post the recipe asap. I just used probiotics to create it. Have a splendid week! amie sue

  7. Lisa says:

    I am glad to see this on here. i have read something similar before but have always wondered to myself if coconut manna from nutiva is close to the same as this young tai coconuts flesh. (in case i can’t find these?) I love your website and I try my best to re-create many of your dishes with what I consider amazing success. Thanks for all you do!

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Lisa… your so sweet. Coconut manna is indeed similar but a bit more dense than the real coconut flesh from a Young Thai coconut, so keep that in mind. Today for lunch I took some young coconut flesh and put it in the blender with a little water. Blended it till creamy, added a drop or two of stevia (I have a sweet tooth) and some cinnamon…. HEAVEN!!!!!

      Have a wonderful evening Lisa..amie sue

  8. Kathleen says:

    There is a wonderful small business called Exotic Superfoods that sells only a few products; among them: the best coconut water you’ve ever tasted AND wonderful raw coconut meat from young Thai coconuts. They ship frozen, and you can keep it in your freezer pretty much indefinitely (I just used some I bought in bulk two years ago). Expensive, but so amazing – no more cracking coconuts and not knowing what you’ll get!

    http://www.exoticsuperfoods.com

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Kathleen, I have visited their site several times before. I great alternative for many. I sure appreciate you sharing. :) Have a happy day, amie sue

  9. Yulia says:

    I was wondering if there are organic young coconuts out there. Only conventionally grown ones are sold at our local health food store.

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Yulia… I only see conventionally grown ones locally as well. I am sure if you Google it, there might be places that ship them. Have a great day, amie sue

  10. Michelle says:

    Hi Amie-Sue,

    First of all I LOVE all of your recipes, your so creative, thankyou!!

    Second, apologies for the silly question, I live in Australia, I’ve seen coconuts that look exactly the same as in the first picture but they are called ‘drinking coconuts’ would they be the Thai coconuts that you used here??

    Thankyou,

    -Michelle

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Michelle :) Your so sweet!

      Please, never apologize for any questions… it’s how we all learn and grow. :) I will be honest though, I am not sure 100% if they are the same. Without seeing it…. hmm, maybe I need a trip to Australia to see! I think Bob will agree with me. hehe Have you opened one before? Is it filled with a “water” and a soft flesh around the inside? Keep me posted, I am curious :) amie sue

      • Michelle says:

        Okay, curiosity just got the better of me, bought one and opened it, was full of water and it had a thin layer of white flesh around it!! YAAAYY! I didn’t think we could get them here in Australia, thankyou!! hugs :D

        • amie-sue says:

          Right on Michelle! I am sooo glad that you bought one, because I was equally curious as to what it was you were seeing over there. hehe It sounds the same to me. Be careful… they are addicting, well, if you ask me. :) Have a great weekend! hugs, amie sue

  11. kate says:

    I’m so glad I found your website! Young green coconuts are new to me. I’d read about them but here in England they’re hard to find. I finally found a local grocer selling them quite cheaply – I was so pleased, I bought the lot of them (12)!

    However, I’ve noticed they are very near the “use by” date and I wondered if they could be frozen. That information has been v e r y to find, so it was great to see from this website that it is ok.

    I have a few questions about this:

    I’ve got some lidded containers that I thought I could use to freeze the coconut water. Does the “meat” freeze better if it is in with the coconut water? Would it be better if I just put the whole coconut in the freezer?

    They are starting to taste more like a brown coconut. It is now one day past the “use by” date and they are starting to taste a little like a brown coconut. Is this ok. How do you tell if it has gone off?

    I’m sorry if I’ve been too wordy. I would very much appreciate any replies.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Kate,

      Welcome and I am glad that you found my site as well. I hope you find some yummy recipes to try and add to your diet. :)

      As far as the young coconuts. I freeze mine all the time. I can really only afford them when I can find them on sale and when I do, I purchase several cases at a time. I then immediately process them. I crack them all open and seperate the juice from the flesh.

      The water inside the nut… I filter it through a nut bag (could try cheese cloth) and put it in freezer safe jars to freeze.

      The flesh (meat), I clean all the brown bits off and separate the meat according to how young or mature the meat is. The really soft meat goes in one bowl and the more firm, mature pieces go in another. I do this because the soft flesh is great for pies, smoothies, etc and the firm stuff can cut into thin noodles for fun dishes. I then measure out 1 or 2 cup batches and freeze it that way so I don’t have to thaw to much extra when I need it for a recipe. I freeze the meat in ziplock bags that are made for freezing. After I put the meat in it, I press all the air out of the bag while I am sealing it. The less air that surrounds it the better so it doesn’t get freezer burnt.

      If they smell and taste fine, they should be just fine. If they are “off” you can tell, might start to get a soured smell and weird ting to the flesh.

      Does this help? Please let me know. Have a great day and enjoy that coconut! amie sue

  12. [...] I’ve tasted pink coconut meat and pink water and I didn’t get sick.  I’ve also thrown out pink meat and water when it looked too gnarly to be edible.  Every coconut is different!  Read more about variation in yield and color here. [...]

  13. Angela says:

    I have a second fridge on the rooftop to store things like coconuts…now I`ve noticed that my coconuts are frozen. can I still use the flesh and the water if its are unforzen again?

    And is it possible to use the firmer flesh as well for pies and smoothies ?

    Next time I will open them immidiatelly and freeze the flesh and the water separately as you recommended!
    Do I have to thaw them by room temeprature or in the fridge?

    Thank you so much for your kind support!

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Angela,

      For the future it is best to process the coconuts right away as you indicated. For this time, you should still be ok. I would let them defrost on the counter for maybe 4 hours and then process them.

      When you ask about using “firmer” coconut meat in pies, as you referring to mature coconuts? The brown hairy ones? I don’t find that the meat / flesh creates the same texture as the young Thai coconuts, so I stick with those.

      Have a great day, amie sue :)

  14. Claudia says:

    sometimes I buy the young coconut at the market where they also have a machine to chop the tip and insert a straw for the customer to drink the water and I realize it is exactly the same taste of those sold in the mini markets by the can, and when I go to check the ingredients on the can I can see it’s added sugar and another couple of ingredients. so my question is: how can the fresh one be such an identical sweet taste to the one sold by the can? is it actually possible to insert sugar in the fresh coconut before opening it? because i had the doubt that some markets sell fakes one or they add extra sugar or ingredients to make it tastier

    • amie-sue says:

      Good afternoon Claudia,

      This is my opinion… I don’t find the canned coconut waters to taste anywhere as good as the fresh. In fact I can’t stand the canned types ever since trying it fresh. With the canned versions, since they are so processed and filtered, my thought is that flavor is lost so they have to add in sugars to sweeten the flavor back up and other chemicals are added for long term storage, etc. Plus it would be good to know if they are using the water from a mature or Young Thai coconut.

      IF you think the market is adding sweeteners or anything else to the fresh ones that they open for you… ask them. They have to disclose that information. But I highly doubt that they are.

      Have a great evening, amie sue

  15. Jody says:

    Hi,

    Is there any way to reuse the shell of the young Thai coconut? I know they are chemically treated on the outside, so I was wondering if there is any safe way to repurpose them.

    Thanks!

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