|These cute monkeys called pig-tail
macaques are trained in Thailand
and Malaysia to harvest coconuts.
When you are hooked on buko (a Tagalog word pronounced boo-ko, or young coconut) you quickly look for a simple, fast, effective way to open them after you have drained them of their precious water. The machete, or maybe a small hatchet, does the trick.
Incidentally, if you have not fallen in love with young coconuts yet because you have been steered away from them by some false assumption about their 'saturated fat' being bad for you, please know that the young coconuts contain less saturated fat than the mature coconut does, and, of course, none of the hydrogenated, or transfats, of processed foods made with hydrogenated coconut oils. The young coconut liquid is a high source of electrolytes, and as such is very restorative for people who are active or stressed. It also contains important vitamins, minerals, and lauric acid. The taste? Well, not like the fake 'coconut flavouring' that we are used to in processed foods and candy, but a very delicate and delicious flavour that you will recognize as coconut. The fragrance of the opened buko is exhilarating in itself. The lovely gelatinous 'meat' is a real delight in a smoothie (in the Philippines I had ice cream made from it... delish!)
That said, where does the machete come into play? Well, first you shave off some of the bottom white covering to the nut and find the soft spots, puncture and pour the liquid into your blender. Then you must cut open the shell to get at the gelatin... prior to the machete my husband had a special (cheap) cleaver-type knife that he would use to saw and hack away with until he was able to get the thing open. It was a long and frustrating process and completely eliminated me from any assistance. Now, because of a video I watched, we have a good opportunity to get at the stuff fast. Even I, 60-something years old and nervous around big sharp knives, can do a fair ninja job of cracking the coconut open in one or two shots.
Here are some great links that show various ways to get at the goods:
Go here to watch Renegade Health's Kevin Gianni open a coconut with a machete (scroll down when you get to the site)
Don't have a machete? Want to get the liquid from that white fuzzy (shaved young coconut) you bought at the grocery store? Go here to learn how to do it with a meat cleaver
Don't have a meat cleaver either? You will need a nice sharp knife, but here is a great demonstration on youtube
(yes, I did buy myself a machete because we ♥ young coconuts at our house)