The last of the summer storms blow through the Tropical Homestead in September. The blustery weather causes one of our favorite phenomena, food from the skies. A satisfying thud signals the coconut’s arrival from above, and the whole family springs into homesteading action! Clay whips out the saw and cuts into the very, very, thick husk. KA-POW!
I leap into the mix, snapping pictures and saying things like KA-POW! and WHA-CHA! This is an integral part of process, trust me. We save all the husks and the hairy insides from this process (called coir, if you are fancy and don’t want to say hairy innards). We use this for all sorts of things, like lining the bottom of planters, using it to start a bonfire, or keeping Grandpa busy, who lights it on fire just for fun.
After a plethora of Wha-Chas, Ka-Pows and a few Ba-Zings for good measure, victory is at hand. Behold, the beautiful coconut, treasure chest of creamy coconut bliss.
But alas, though the boys may have won the battle, the war is far from over. The campaign moves to a new theatre, the kitchen. This is where I come in.
The final defense of the coconut is their adorable little faces. These three are obviously pretending to be cute baby sloth-pandas. I have been fooled before, but I am older, wiser, hungrier and a lot more jaded toward cuteness in general. Sorry, infant arboreal bears, you’re going down.
I use a clean nail or screwdriver to poke open the three holes and drain the coconut water inside. I find a pyrex measuring cup works great. Once drained, I wrap the coconut in a towel to hide the cuteness and muffle the screams. Just kidding. But use a towel to keep the coconut from flying all over the place.
After you’ve worked out all your anger issues and the coconut is cracked into five or six pieces, pry the white meat from the shell. The fresher the coconut, the easier this is. I can usually get most of it off with my hands, but I sometimes need a knife to wedge in between the white and the shell. Be careful and always push away from your other hand. I’ve gouged my left thumb more times than I care to mention. Don’t be like me.
This is where the universe expands and all paths open to you. You can do anything you want with this coconut, within the laws of physics and your local ordinances, of course. We usually cut up the coconut into 2-3 inch pieces and throw it in the blender with the drained coconut water to make coconut milk. Once it’s put through a strainer and muslin, we mix it with cocoa and honey for our signature Monkey Milk on ice. Heaven in a glass, my friends.
But that’s not all, you can take the chunks left in the strainer to make some seriously addicting coconut bars (we’ve adapted this recipe, substituting 1 cup of honey for 1 cup of the brown sugar, a stick of butter for the shortening and upping the coconut wattage to 1 cup.) These will never see a plate, you will eat all of these over the pan as soon as they cool down enough not to burn off your face, mark my words.
I could expound for ages on the glorious coconut, but Monkey Milk waits for no homesteader. Cheers!