How to Cut Open a Coconut – The Renegade Health Show Episode #503

Thursday Feb 11 | BY |
| Comments (59)

In Key West, we’ve been getting our coconut fix…

I’ve learned from some of the locals here, exactly how to cut open a coconut as well as some of the distinctions between the coconuts you see in the store or market.

Today, I will show you how to cut open a coconut and explain… what green coconuts are, which coconuts have meat and which have jelly, what a young Thai coconut is and what exactly are the brown ones you see in the store.

I also have a very big knife. LOL! 🙂

Take a look…

Your question of the day: When was the first time you ever saw a coconut in a tree?

Click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave your comment now!

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Tyrah says:

    Awesome video, thanks for explaining all the differences in coconuts and their parts! First time I saw coconuts in trees was in Florida as a kid and most recently in HI, they definitely don’t grow here in MI 😉

  2. chris says:

    Costa Rica

  3. Great show! Very informative concerning how to open a coconut!
    Danette in GA.

  4. Anne Hunt says:

    Florida: we would get to drink out of the shells and then eat the meat….I always thought it was a little chewy but it was very sweet….I tried the coconut oil on my hair and it looks great- it gave it a shine and body that looks really healthy…I wish it could do that to my insides as well.

  5. Joan says:

    I haven’t seen them in trees except in pictures or videos! That is a lot of work – but what yummy results!

  6. Michael T. says:

    Thanks for the good show, Kevin.

    I first saw coconuts here in Hawaii, big bunches of maybe 10 coconuts in one tree. I was surprised at how large they are, mostly husk.

    One thing I wanted to add: the young coconuts have much less oil in them. As the coconut gets older, the tree puts more oil into it. So, the youngest coconuts are mostly sugar water and minerals. The older, harder coconut is mostly oil.

    Also, coconut “milk” is man-made, and you will never find it in a coconut. Coconut milk is made by blending mature coconut meat with hot water and then straining.

    We’ve been having a really dry year, so please send prayers for rain to Hawaii.

    Mahalo and aloha,

    Michael T.

  7. dale says:

    You sure have become more comfortable around coconuts since your 1st coconut hunt!
    In Central Florida, I get coconuts from the local Spanish markets like La Placita and Bravo. Whole Foods has the Thai coconuts but they are more expensive.
    Ann Marie,
    Woman to woman, just get to cracking those coconuts and have fun. It is not all that scary once you start. I am new to it all, also. My friends have gotten a good laugh, to say the least.
    Thanks for all the machete tips. I have been using a sharpened kicthen knife but am looking forward to purchasing a machete.

  8. andrew zubriczky says:

    Hey Guys,

    Great info as usual. I am always excited by how excited you are about each of your shows and the extreme and dangerous lengths you go to for our health!

    I also saw them, the coconut trees, in Southern Florida, back in the late 60’s.

    At present,I wouldn’t trust myself with a machete if my life depended on it. But, you are right to warn people not to hit their legs, as they execute that down-stroke.

    I am going to have to get them without the husk. The machete is far too difficult and dangerous for me to use. But hey, whats a little danger anyways…

    Toronto, Canada

  9. Morgane says:

    Bouuuu, i never saw a coconut in a tree but thank you very much for taking the time to make all those amazing videos!! I am learning a LOT!!

  10. Karen says:

    I first saw coconuts on a tree in Hawaii. Kevin, that really looks dangerous – I don’t think I’ll be trying it anytime soon. I’ll have the guys at Whole Foods hack ’em open for me. Thanks for the show!

  11. Susan says:

    Way too difficult and messy!
    Go to

    and you will see a lot easier way to open up a Thai Coconut. EASY AND SIMPLE.
    YouTube has other demostrations also to look at.

  12. sheri says:

    Enjoyed the show, grew up in FL so
    can’t remember when I first saw a coconut in tree. My dad puts the coconut in a vice & drills
    a hole in it to get the water out.
    I liked info on machete. I was wondering
    if you could show how to make coconut butter sometime. Thanks!

  13. Morgane says:

    Hey there it is me again. I was wondering, do you find the time to work out? And if yes what kind of routine do you do?

  14. Susan says:

    I travel all over the US and I mostly see the shaved ones in the store. I think the idea of your show is to make it EASY for everyone so they are INSPIRED to go out and purchase them and opening them up for themselves instead of purchasing coconut juice that is in a can.

    If this was the first time I ever saw someone open up a coconut I would not try it by myself and would say its too difficult.
    When the reality is that it is quite easy!

  15. Susan says:

    Oh by the way…
    Just because I have a comment does not mean that I do not respect you. I LOVE your show and I’ve learned SO MUSH and I am looking forward to learning more from you. I tell everyone about you.
    Big Fan!

  16. Maria says:

    Woah that IS a big knife!! Quite scary Kevin, hehe. I’ve been away and now have a whole month of shows to catch up on – woo:-) Sure missed you guys; I smile sooo much when I am watching. As for coconuts I have NEVER seen a coconut in a tree…not in real life…maybe on the tv…They just don’t like the weather in the UK, lol. xxx
    Ps thanks – I’ve always wondered where the brown hairy coconuts came from!!!

  17. Donna says:

    Great video. What are you going to do with all the coconut meat?

  18. Brianna says:

    Thanks for the info! I think you made it clear that, if you’re ever in a tropical setting and can get a hold of some of the local coconuts, this is how you open them 🙂

    I don’t think it was discouraging at all- in fact, I’m going to be buying a whooole case of coconuts from my local health food store on Monday!!

    What kind of shelf life to coconuts have(with the husks still on)?

  19. Brianna says:

    p.s. I’ve never seen a coconut growing on a tree either! I gotta get out there and travel!

  20. Alicia Harris says:

    I used to live in Puerto Rico with my grandparents and when we used to go to the beach we would see the coconut trees full of coconuts. At that time I didn’t appreciate them like I do now. But now I no longer live in Puerto Rico. Oh well.

  21. Dorothy says:

    I first saw coconuts growing on trees in the late 1960’s when I went to Puerto Rico for a vacation….I love them and the water!! Thanks for the video….

  22. T.j. Allen says:

    Key west 10 years old a lonng time ago

  23. Anita Manuel says:

    In Aruba as a kid. I remember guys coming to our Girl Scout camp which was in a coconut grove. Skinnied up the trees and threw the coconuts down.

  24. Anne Hunt says:

    Kevin, I just saw that you are a finalist in the Shorty Awards! Hope you win but if not y’all are still the best!

  25. Kevin says:

    Thanks for the wonderful vids, i first saw them in HI, I have herd that thai young coconuts have formaldehyde on/in them as a result of the packaging/preserving ect. I eat just about a coconut a day and love them. here is one link on the positive side,
    what are everyone else’s thoughts on this matter. take care, Kevin Thomas

  26. Greg says:

    Love The Show. Great Info. I saw my first Coconut tree in Hawaii as a little kid.

  27. kristine says:

    I have never seen a coconut on a tree! Hopefully soon I will get to the beautiful places where they grow.
    I wish I had a video of all the things I’ve tried to open a coconut. It would be pretty funny.
    Thanks for this. I might start buying coconuts again.

  28. KarmaLily says:

    I’ve never seen one in a tree! That’s the Appalachian mountains for ya.

    Last year I bought one of the brown fuzzy coconuts from a super market but never used it because I didn’t know what to do with it.

  29. altopod says:


  30. Geri says:

    i live on Maui so I see them all the time. We even have trees in our yard!

  31. Melissa says:

    The first time that I saw coconuts growing off of a tree was during my trip to Phucket, Thailand this past January.

  32. Peg says:

    India! I remember the sellers would open them up in seconds (with huge scary machetes) and put a straw in and hand it over. mmmm

    I heard that there is a name for the coconut according to the stage of ripeness it is in. Like the Inuit language has about nine words for the different kinds of snow. I have been looking for coconut words–anyone know these? Perhaps those of you in Hawaii.

  33. key west jan 52 while in the navy

  34. NOAA Janet says:

    I was in the Bahamas when I saw my first coconut on the tree.

    Hey Kevin, I have a question for you. Once you open up those coconuts, how are you preventing the husk/remains from being taken over by ants? Every time I have opened coconuts I get an ant infestation.

  35. Lorien says:

    Good show, I was hoping you’d show us how to open the round brown ones. I have two, can’t find the others round here. The only time I’ve seen coconuts growing in trees was in India.

  36. Liana says:

    FLORIDA!!! 🙂 Grew up in Gainesville (northcentral FL, home of UF/Gators), but (can you imagine?!) never once got to harvest or eat fresh coconuts there… I live in the Pacific NW now and it’s sad to realize that I’ve eaten many young cocos shipped from Thailand and not one from FL! Thanks so much for the demos! I look forward to harvesting some fresh local ones when I go home to visit my family there soon… 🙂

  37. Thanks Kevin and Annemarie

    I love coconuts and thanks for sharing how to open them and for those who don’t know what the coconuts look like before you see them in the store.

    Also, visit my blog and read about my 42 day cleanse using coconut water that I finished mid-January and I have also written about my transition back to food. I continue to write about health related topics and post daily (off on weekends). To read about my cleanse from day 1, click on December 2009. Share this with others who may be interested and I love to receive comments.

    Chef Mindy aka Ageless Raw Beauty

  38. Ruthann says:

    I always look to see how different ppl open coconuts. I use a hatchet to open mine, and missed and almost whached a corner off my dishwasher. (I don’t have an ‘outside’ to use)
    I would like to figure out a secure way to open them. Like securing the coconut and use a drill press to get the liquid out and then a band saw or something to further open it, lol. I don’t know, it just freaks me out one wrong whack could have life altering consequences.
    The first time I saw coconuts growing on a tree may have been in Brasil, but also saw them in Costa Rica.

  39. Tommy says:

    I grew up in FL. When my father was a young boy he would shuck coconuts for money for the tourists. I was 4 years old when I first saw and tasted a coconut, and didn’t like it then. I’m now a young 55 yrs old and love coconuts. If you get to West Palm Beach, I’ll show you how to open the young coconuts with a serrated knife like pealing into an apple. Then if your up to it we could do a beach run. I usually do a 10 mile barefoot run at the water’s edge. I enjoy watching your shows, there is always something to learn. Give me an email if you like, it would be great to talk with you. Thanks. Blessings and Love.

  40. Bali, Indonesia

    I would love to go back. We just ate our way across the island, well ate fruit all the way across the island. Our children just loved Bali and still talk about over all our other travels.

  41. Bonita says:

    Great show.

    So, I quit smoking 4 days ago and it’s been fantastic except for the constipation..what the hell?! I am normally a frequent flyer and do not appreciate this involuntary grounding!!
    Any suggestions?!


  42. Colin Smith says:

    I live in Queensland, Australia, which is a tropical area, so coconuts grow or are planted in the sandy coastal areas. The coconuts float on the sea water, and have spread through out the tropical areas in this way.

    A Few years ago, a lovely avenue of coconut trees on a sunny sandy beach above the water line, which were planted years ago, were destroyed because the local authority was scared of the consequences of a coconut falling and injurying someone, who then might seek financial compensation. I thought that line of trees that was destroyed was the best in Australia.

    Since then, someone invented a coconet, a type of circular basket which is mounted on the tree, just below the fruit, to prevent an unhappy incident.

    I am in the market to buy organic coconut oil, extracted gently, for both medicinal use and as a shampoo.

    Alternatively, Kevin and Annmarie, can you advise how to extract the product and make a home-made oil from a purchased coconut?

    Thanks. I share your enthusiasm for natural health. Colin.

  43. I’m from Sweden so uhm we don’t have coconut trees growing there 🙂 don’t think I’ve seen one on my travels either!

  44. Kevin,

    I heard that those young Thai coconuts that we get here in the store (I live in Maine) are bleached to stay white. Have you heard that? I was just wondering if those were something we should stay away from.

    Lisa Marie Lindenschmidt
    Rite Food and Company

  45. Jan Podolske says:

    I first saw coconuts while living in Florida years ago! My brother just planted a coconut tree in his yard in Honolulu. I hope to share this info with him as he is just learning about this wonderful tree!
    I will be using coconut water for hydration when I am in a bike riding event for Habitat for Humanity! Yes!!!Currently in training!!!

  46. Lori says:

    I first saw the coconuts growing in the trees when living in South FL a couple years ago and didn’t know how the heck to open those (still bought the white Thai ones at Whole Foods!)(Darn it!) but some locals in the neighborhood would come along and pick up the ones that had fallen to the ground…would see them all the time at the local farmer’s markets – sold whole(they would keep them in a big bucket with water) Had I only known! Couldn’t get any fresher than from my own back yard!

  47. David Barriga says:

    Hello Kevin,
    Thats the way it was done in the early days.
    Been eating coconuts since I was a litte boy when I lived in Mexico. They come in second only to Mangos.
    Some coconut trees in Hawaii, ten yrs. ago when I went On the Tiger crouise with the Navy, spented a week on the ship with my son, it was the best vacation eve! Two dreams came thru, saw the beatuful Islands and witness the greatness of ‘The Mother Ship’
    Never knew the health benefits of coconut oil in all these yrs. good for the following: antivial,antifungal,antibacterial and detox.

    Thxs. to the artical, goin to contact Midy aka ageless raw beauty to further gain info. about the health use of coconut oil, there’s tons of useful health knowledge from people like Kevin and all of you,— WE would all be healthy if ‘WE’ run the Medical Indusrty.

  48. Beth says:

    First time I saw coconuts in the tree was in Barbados. The next time was Florida.

    Excellent show.

  49. Chris & Sara says:

    CooCoo for CoCos!!!

    Great show! I am always surprised at how many people dont know about Cocos. You did a great job explaining all the varieties.

    Since we live in Hawaii we have them everywhere. Thank God!!
    Even when we lived in Az we were blessed to have an Asian Grocer that carried them, (pre shaved so easier to open) so we even got them on the mainland.

    My favorite is the young ones with the gelatinous meat. Mmmm.
    Great for making

    Coco IceCream~

    Blend up 3 cocos worth of meat with a little of the water. Add vanilla, a little maple syrup or dates and some ice.

    MMMmmmmm. Try that one out! Soooo good. Enjoy~


  50. Jacquie says:

    Great show as always! Thanks for the great coconut info. It’s funny how simple things like this teach us so much. I am originally from MI (yeah, no coconuts there) and saw my first coconut growing in a tree when I was six and we went to southern California on vacation. 🙂

  51. Ahntara says:

    Great show! Thanks for the info and (to whomever posted) the link to YouTube showing anoter way to open.

    I first saw coconuts on a tree on my first trip to Miami in the 1970’s. We have lots of date palm trees in central Fl, but not coconut palms. Always love driving on Key Biscayne. The city planted tons of different types of palms there. It’s an education just looking around out there.

  52. Anne says:

    I may have seen them in FL on a school trip, but it’s been too many years to remember clearly. Anything fun bringing you to Phoenix? I don’t see anything on the calendar.

  53. mak says:

    Thanks Kevin,
    now, how do we get the meat out? I saw you parting the coconut in half, but what do you use, as a utensil, to get the meat out of the coconut? would a spoon do? or is it too hard?
    thanks for bearing with my questions.

  54. mak says:

    Also Kevin, have you done a show talking about your RV? I am so curious to know details, how does it work, the size of it, the gasoline it needs, price, and if you are happy with it or thinking to change it in the future?
    I have been thinking to get one eventually. My husband has some reservations.
    Would love to know how you manage on the road and tales of the road that you can share.
    Love you both. Thanks for all you share with us.

  55. Brenda says:

    44 yrs. old and have still never seen one growing on a tree. Saw a few on Gilligan’s Island. LOL. Thanks for the demo and all the great info.

  56. Carol Lani Johnson says:

    Yo Kevin! When you say keep your eyes on your fingers…uh uh ~ keep your eyes on where you are cutting, & keep your fingers well back! I learned that where you direct your eyes is where you direct your car or in this case your blade, so you want to keep your eyes on the coconut, while being aware of keeping your fingers out of the way., right?
    My first palm tree sighting was Arizona or California & I am not sure if there were coconuts. However, when I was grown I saw them in Hawaii. LOVE the sweetness of the Thai coconuts & love to blend the water & meat always to use as creamy coconut milk in chia pudding & green smoothies. Would love to have them every day! Would love to have enough to drink the water regularly & use the meat for desserts! UMMMMM!

  57. Thanks Kevin and Ann Marie. Right now we’re enjoying the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, and the closest to coconuts are the Windmill Palms here on Vancouver Island. See them at I first saw coconuts in Hawaii in 1978, but up close and personal in 1993 when I visited 2nd wife’s family in Kidapawan, Mindanao, Philippines. Thanks for the reminders. Yes, tell us more about your RV eating situation.

  58. Jill says:

    You were good at chopping those Kevin, thanks for the very entertaining/informative show. I’m a little out of the loop of daily watching so I have some episodes to catch up on. To get to the question of the day though, the first I have ever seen them growing on a tree is on a your show! 🙂

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