20090318

Cracking Open A Coconut 101

Sometimes life has to be about more than the obvious. Recently while visiting my favorite market for fresh fruit and vegetables I decided to try something different. I did my research before going into the store and watched a couple of You Tubers demonstrate how to crack open a coconut. Amused and interested I shook my head at the thought of all the decades that have passed and I've never made this attempt. I thought of how wonderful this project could have been as a teachable moment as a family. As I walked to the pile of coconuts before me, I picked up one and shook it, holding it closely to my ear. I learned that it's important to hear water inside. I pretended as though I knew what I was doing as I grabbed another and added it to my basket. I felt very encouraged as I heard at least 10 ounces of water rattling inside this odd-looking object. Strangely, I was reminded of the movie "Castaway" with Tom Hanks. Even though his "best friend" on the island was a ball, for some reason the coconut reminded me of that object. I guess it was the three little "eyes" in what is presumably the top of the fruit. Well, several days passed and I had placed the coconuts in a place that I wouldn't forget they were there; but, at the same time wouldn't pressure me into embarking on the project til I had a clean slate for the day. Well, today happened to be that day. I grabbed one of the coconuts and the few notes I'd taken on just how to get to the meat of this issue. I started by taking a nail and hammer and poking a hole in the most tender of the three holes. Soon I had a clear liquid flowing from the inside. I was even tempted to let this be a "You Tube" moment. I had to admit elation was what I felt as a major sense of accomplishment had occured. Even though my daughter is no longer a child, I still used this as a teachable moment for her. I explained that no person should be allowed to leave high school without a clear knowledge of how to do something as basic as this. She, as I, had no real clue how to crack open this object; except for the instructions. I ex- plained to her that there are three holes on the top of the coconut. Two of them are very hard and one is relatively soft. That was the one that would be the target of the nail and hammer to extract the juices. Next came putting this fruit into the oven at 450 for 15 minutes. Out of the oven, I set it on the counter and proceeded to step 2 which was to whack it with the back of a big knife all the way around the circumference; per the instructions. And whack I did. And whack. And whack. And whack. I thought how handy a husband can be as my whacking produced no immediate results. I thought of how insecure I was to go out and body slam a coconut on the concrete. So, I endured the noise of attempting to get inside the coconut, with no apparent success. I put it aside and left my feeling of "unsuccess" right there with it; and headed for the mall. The whole intent of buying this coconut, aside from enjoying the juice and meat was to have the feeling of accomplishing something new. On my return I sat and did a little more research on how to conquer this coconut; and, realized I probably should have let it stay in the oven for about 30 minutes, as I learned the shell will naturally crack. In between going to the kitchen and doing things required of the day, I'd pick up the coconut and give it a few whacks, putting it back til the next go round. I learned that instead of hitting it at the equator, I should whack it around the three holes. That seemed to work as this earthquake-type crack begin to ride down the side and around the coconut. Nothing like progress. I then grabbed a butter knife and began pulling the shell from the flesh and imagined having to do a hundred of these for a living. I smiled as I realized the ripped arms I'd have if that were my gig. But, thankfully it's not. And even more thankful was the sweet taste of unshredded coconut. I promptly put it in the freezer, primarily to add to smoothies; and cleaned up the light mess the juice and brown husk-like hairs left behind. Mission accomplished. No longer will I wonder if I can, or even how to crack open a coconut. Thank God for the internet. And thankful too for the Holy Ghost perseverance to not give up and quit! Do I look forward to cracking open the second coconut? The labor of getting to the fruit; not so much. But the joy of what's inside, I suppose. Was it worth it? Yes, very much so. There's nothing like learning something new coming with the fringe benefit of a healthy treat. Will I buy fresh coconuts again? Most definitely.