Coconuts grow wild where my parents live in Costa Rica. As my friends drove from coast to coast, we would peel off the road and shove the car into a hasty reverse whenever we saw a mature bunch of coconuts. We’d grab the machete and–after a few good whacks–run back with an armful of coconuts. Coconut water and meat was our staple food as we trekked down along the east coast, along with a few healthy portions of gallo pinto.
Sadly, I didn’t learn the best way to open young coconuts until later, when my partner and I were selling jewelry at a festival. We were next to a local vendor selling fresh coconuts. Watching him open young coconuts hundreds of times each day taught me the technique well enough for me to do it myself when I got back home to my machete.
So, without further adieu (as my grade-school teacher would say), I present: How to Open Young Coconuts, Costa Rican Style.
Step One: Use a short machete to trim the bottom. The actual coconut sits towards the bottom (the opposite side of the stem), so you’ll start here by chopping the green outer layer at a 45-degree angle, like this:
Keep trimming until you get to the hard shell beneath the fiberous exterior.
Step Two: Make a small hole. Use the machete to chop a more or less triangular hole.
Step 4: Crack it open! Line it up so the machete will fall on the hole you made, and give it a good whallop. If it doesn’t make it all the way through, you can flip it over and cut through the fibrous part, or just peel it apart with your massive strength.