I usually buy whole fresh coconuts from Indian grocery store (We can break there and check the quality before buying it). I prefer breaking at home so i choose better quality coconut. This post in details talks about How to buy Fresh coconut, how to shred coconut and how to store shredded coconut for later use. I bought this coconut scrapper/shredder from Chennai (refer picture below), which sticks to the counter top and have been using it for more than 8 years the same scraper without any hassle.
I buy 2 or 3 whole coconuts at a time, shred and store like shown in pictures and video. Being a farmer family the coconuts we choose from store never goes bad also when I go with friends for purchase I do pick coconuts for them as well. So with my coconut handling experience I have shared several tips hope its useful for beginners. The store buy shredded coconut flakes packs are not sufficient for me since I use more coconut in my cooking. Also each whole coconut is $1 to $1.5, you get both coconut water plus flesh and if you choose the big ones you get extra flakes. 1 coconut is more than enough for a week use.
If you don’t have the scraper don’t worry buy the fresh coconut, chop the flesh in to small cube like pieces using knife (be careful while doing and don’t rush it up) and pulse them in Mixer/Mixie/food processor. The one ground in food processor looks little big chunks, its good to extract coconut milk and for gravies which again grind it with other masala. But when you add it for poriyal you feel bit large chunks while eating. They are not so perfect as shredded in video shown below but its a better idea if you don’t have coconut scraper at home.
Also in the Video I have shown to remove the first grated coconut and keep separately since the one close to inner shell will give brown coconut flakes which I always use for making coconut milk and discard the coconut meat after that. But in some coconut you may not see big chunks of brown layers (if the coconut is tender and so fresh). In that case do shred everything , use and store in a same container.
How to choose a Fresh Coconut
- Do eyeball and choose the bigger/heavier one by comparing with others when they are priced as $$ for each coconut :-).
- If both are of same size do weigh by hand and pick the heavier one. The logic here is that a heavier coconut likely has more coconut water inside hence more likely to be freshest of the two.
- Its better to buy coconut with fiber at the back (they leave coconuts with triangle shape fiber to stay fresh). But its not the case in my place if so follow other tips listed below.
- If there is no triangle shaped fiber ie kudumi in Tamil (will attach a picture soon) at the back then you can see 3 eyes in that place.
- Check the three eyes of the coconut , it has to be healthy and if it has mold ie black or green in color choose a different one.
- Pick a good brown color or white shelled coconut and not dark brown or black shelled coconut with molds.
- Also if it has light cracks here and there or it smells bad don’t buy it.
- Next shake the coconut, if its heavy and you hear water sloshing noise then its a good coconut.
- If it has less water or you can’t hear or feel it has water inside don’t buy it.
- When you shake the available coconuts in store do choose coconut s that has a lot of coconut water inside.
- Lots of coconut water is a good indication that the coconut is fresh.
How to Shred Coconut
- Hold the coconut in one hand over the scraper, in another hand rotate the handle clockwise, while rotating always make sure the sharp blades are over coconut flush.
- This will shred a coconut in 5 minutes.
- If you see the coconut flush is brown, the one which sticks with the shell looks brown or dark brown.
- Immediately do remove the pure white shredded flesh to an container and then continue shredding the dark layers.
- The white flush i keep it to add in curries and stir fries whereas the dark brown layer i use it just to extract coconut milk and use it accordingly.
- Do refer video where i have explained clearly each steps.
- Pack them separately (white and brown flush) in zip lock or air tight container, then freeze it.
- This stays fresh several months if handled properly. Once you take out for cooking don’t forget to put the remaining back in freezer.
- While shredding some coconut come off from the hard shell ie the whole flush if they are so tender they come off like that, If it happens do separately store them in a zip lock and use them to make coconut milk as any dish calls for (refer recipe ideas at the end of the post).
- Or as said earlier pulse in the mixer or mixie, store excess in freezer and use it for poriyal or curry wherever you need.
- If you bought fresh whole coconuts from store do refrigerate till you use.
- To use the frozen shredded coconut, keep the lid based container in room temperature for 5 minutes. Later take the necessary coconut and store the remaining back in freezer.
- Of stored in Ziploc can take immediately when it’s out from freezer, just add it is to warm stir fry.
- For chutney do thaw or use warm water while grinding to get the chutney perfect.
- The whole coconut can be refrigerated for a week once you purchase from the store. Once you break separate water and coconut meat. You can freeze the meat with shell in Ziploc as it is or shred and store. For cooking it is easy if you shred and store otherwise you need extra time to thaw and use.
Also a small handy coconut scraper is available (
will post the image soon) in market you can use that too but i feel a bit hard to scrap in it (refer below picture).
Here in the below picture I have showed coconut cupcakes at the back drop where I used fresh homemade coconut milk in it. For Recipes do hover the links provided below.
- Eggless Coconut Cupcakes Recipe HERE and few more coconut based recipes
- Coconut Filled Modaks | Thengai Poorana Kozhukattai HERE
- Plain Salna | Parotta Chalna HERE
- Arisi Thengaai Payasam | Coconut Kheer -> HERE
- Eggless Thengai Bun | Bakery style Coconut Bun –> HERE
- South Indian Sweet Somas — HERE
- Classic Idiyappam | Sandhagai –> HERE
- Thevaiyam/ Thevaiyal/Sweet Rice Puttu — HERE
- Paal Kozhukattai and Ellu Pooranam –> HERE
- Karamani Kuzhambu –> HERE
- Mawa Gujiya –> HERE
- Basbousa — HERE
- Bananas in coconut milk (Thai Dessert) — HERE