Introduction: Eat a Sprouted Coconut

About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific I…

Eat a Sprouted Coconut.
In Marshallese it's called "Yu".
It's really delicious.

For more ways to eat a coconut, try
Coconut Juice and
Coconut Milk

First step: Sprout lots of coconuts. Take all the brown coconuts in your yard and half-bury them in damp places. Coconuts don't sprout until the fibers of the husk soak up fresh water. A coconut can float in salt water forever without sprouting.

You weren't going to eat those coconuts anyway, so might as well sprout them. It's emotionally hard to kill such a beautiful hopeful thing as a sprouting coconut. Until you find out how delicious it is. You'll want to get a lot of them sprouting so you won't feel like you're removing coconut trees from the world. Also you might want to plant some and let them grow to trees. An old Marshallese man told me the secret of growing good coconut trees was to bury the nuts deep so the roots get a good foundation. I think he said he buried his two feet down.

Step 1: Husk It

Use your usual method to husk a coconut.
I had a pickaxe handy so I used that.
I wanted to leave the sprout in one piece for photos, so I used the chisel end of the pickaxe.

The fibers run lengthwise. Jam the chisel between them.
Jam the nut onto the chisel as shown and pry. Rotate and repeat until it's easy to pull the husk off.

Step 2: Admire the Sprout

It's a big surprise to me, but although there are three holes in the "monkey's face", the sprout only comes out of one of them. The root and the shoot kind of tee off the side of one hole. The roots first grow down into the fibers of the husk, which act like a big sponge to soak up fresh water. After the roots are drinking well from the husk, they poke out the bottom and start looking for soil to grow in.

Step 3: Whack It and Crack It

Open the shell in the usual way.
That means tap it around the equator with a rock, light hammer, or the back of a machete.
Don't hit it too hard. You don't want to break through and mash the food. When a crack starts it will grow toward the place you're tapping.

When it breaks in half you can use the same process to break the shell into smaller pieces.
The stem stayed with the other half of the nut.

Step 4: All Parts Are Edible

And there it is!
There's nothing bad about a coconut tree or any part of it.
You can eat any part that appeals to you.

Step 5: Eat and Enjoy!

The spongy part is rich, sweet, and delicious like cake.
It's probably really good for you.

The remaining coconut meat around the edge isn't my favorite part.
Time to get some chickens or maybe a baby wild pig to share it with.

Step 6: Just Barely Sprouted

I opened this coconut at a much earlier stage.
It was just starting to sprout. That little nubbin formed inside with the stem coming out of it. It starts to absorb the meat around the stem. The coconut at this point is mostly full of water, which I drank. The meat of a coconut at this stage tastes much better to me than a regular coconut.

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