Tips and Techniques on Shredding Coconut

Sometimes store-bought shredded coconut just seems a little stale and perhaps you are looking for a little more freshness in your cookies.

We're here to help.

Here's what we know about purchasing, cracking open and shredding coconut - giving you the freshest ingredients possible.

Be sure to shake the coconut before you buy it.

One strong indicator of the quality of a coconut is to ensure that it has plenty of liquid inside.

Also, make sure there isn't any mold around the eyes or anywhere on the outside - this could be a strong indicator that the inside is moldy too. A sure sign to find a different coconut.

Lastly, you'll want to make sure that the coconut shell is not cracked.

Coconut Eyes

Coconut Eyes

Opening a Coconut

Clear any hairy husks from the outer shell and especially from around the eyes, or the soft spots.

Use a Philips-head screwdriver or an ice pick to punch out two of the three coconut eyes, then pour out the coconut water from inside.

Be sure to use the stated amount of coconut in your cookie recipe.

If you have any leftover, you can enjoy it by itself as a snack or in a piñ colada!

It will probably be easiest for you to crack open the drained coconut by striking it with a hammer.

Hold the coconut with the eyes facing down and strike the shell of the coconut about one-third of the way down from the top.

After a few strikes, the shell should begin to crack and once you have cracked the outer shell, you should only need to strike it a few more times to completely break it open.

Then, just pull the two halves apart and voila, fresh coconut.

Preparing to Shred the Coconut

Next, place the halves of the coconut (or pieces) meat side facing up on a baking sheet and bake in an oven that has been preheated to 300F degrees, for about 30 minutes.

When it's ready, remove the pan from the oven and let the coconut cool to room temperature before shredding.

Use a large metal spoon to pry the coconut meat away from the shell and with a paring knife, peel the brownish skin away from the white meat.

For best results, use a food processor fitted with a shredding disc to shred the coconut meat and you will end up with coconut that is shredded in a consistent size and texture.

You can also successfully shred coconut with a hand-held box grater, but it's much more work and you will have shreds of coconut in various sizes and consistency.

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