How to Open a Coconut & Pop Love: The Master and Piñarita

Is there a more perfect food than the coconut? So tasty and miraculously healthy, it seems like it was placed on this earth by the gods to cure every ailment known to man. Our bodies are locks and coconuts are the keys to perform at our best.

Actually, all fruits and vegetables are the keys to our bodies and contain everything we need to stay disease-free. Between re-reading Born to Run, stumbling across Dr. Fuhman’s Immunity Solution on PBS, developing a running/nutrition crush on Eric Orton (I totally almost typed Northman) and my mindful eating revelation, I’m more in awe of plants and how our bodies use them than ever. So much so that I’m researching nutrition programs–I think I wanna be a yogini dietician when I grow up.

Ahem. Back to coconuts. I’ve seen young coconuts in my local produce market for years. Inspired by my recent popsicle frenzy, I decided to pick one up and see what I could blend it with to freeze into my delicious pop-delights.

Aroma can be an adjective.

Naively, I thought the white stuff on the outside was coconut, and I could just shred it into my blender. I couldn’t have been more wrong. That outside rind can actually contain formaldehyde and other toxic preservatives. Fortunately, they don’t leak into the the coconut itself. Even more fortunately, I googled all this before I poisoned myself.

I researched a couple different ways to open this baby up, and the following is what worked for me with what I had in my kitchen. This method is pretty hard on the knife you’ll use, but it needs to be heavy duty and serrated. I’ve read that some people like to use cleavers. I’m afraid of cleavers and don’t own one, so that wasn’t an option for me.

Now the actual young coconut is encased in its rind, which is cut so it’s flat on the bottom and conical on top. Then it’s wrapped in plastic. This is how you’ll receive it.

1. Keeping the plastic on (’cause of those chemicals), use a knife to cut away the rind and expose the hard top of the coconut.

The rind is pretty easy to cut through, but you’ll be cutting in a diagonal toward the point of the cone. Keep shaving away until you get to the rounded top portion of the coconut. The coconut itself has three little ridges that form a peace sign. It’s cute.

2. About an inch from the top, begin to saw away at the shell and eventually you’ll gain a tiny entry. You can tell when you’ve gotten past the shell if it the ridge you’re creating begins to leak with the coconut water inside. This is your cue to stop.

3. Wedge the tip of your knife into where you’ve cut. Then just pry the top off by moving the handle side of the knife down for leverage.

The top will open as a perfect round hole.

That’s coconut water in there!

3. Carefully pour out the coconut water into a container.

There’s a surprising amount of coconut water in that little guy! Save it–this is the exact stuff you’re paying 2 bucks a pop for, except this is directly from the source. I had some Zico on hand to do a side-by-side comparison and well, there is none. The fresh coconut water is sweeter, more viscous and tastier in general. I was tempted to find out what sorts of things I could whip up with this fresh coconut water, but I ended up drinking it all after a run. Supremely refreshing, and I could feel my electrolytes being replaced.

So this is your little coconut without its water:

Now time to remove the flesh.

4. Using a butter knife, plastic spoon or plastic spatula, carefully separate the flesh from the shell. Generally the flesh is thick enough to stay together fairly well, and you can use your fingers or your flexible utensil to remove the rest of the flesh from the shell.

You’re done!

Now what to make with the coconut flesh you’ve worked so hard for? Why, popsicles, of course!

Fewer things delight me more than boozy drinks in healthy pop form, so therein lies my inspiration for this popsicle. I had the coconut, and chose the pineapple, lime and some fleur de sel salt. For added coconuttiness flavor and benefits, I threw some coconut oil in there as well.

I juiced two limes, then tossed in some zest for good measure. It may seem like I’m always trying to up the flavor of everything, but it’s because it’s less noticeable when it’s frozen. The flavor is a bit muted because of the cold, including sweetness. Keep this in mind when you’re taste-testing your blended mix.

Before I poured the mixture into the molds, I sprinkled some of the salt inside of the damp molds, so that it stuck to the sides. Voila: part pina colada, part margarita, all delicious as all get out. The fresh coconut makes these outrageously creamy. The coconut oil added an interesting texture, and I could detect a bit of that slick, oiliness on my lips as I ate, if that makes sense. It’s a nice addition, but I would say the coconut oil is optional.

The Master and Piñarita

1/2 fresh pineapple

Juice of 2 limes and zest

Flesh of one coconut

1 tbs coconut oil (optional)

sea salt

Blend everything except the salt. Sprinkle sea salt into damp molds before pouring in the mixture. Freeze!

Wouldn’t these be amazing with rum? Yeeeah.


2 thoughts on “How to Open a Coconut & Pop Love: The Master and Piñarita

    1. I was about to invest in a meat cleaver! The pictures don’t show my desperation and frantic sawing at the coconut 🙂

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