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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.
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. :)