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...

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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      47 Discussions


      11 months ago on Step 3

      I sprouted one from the grocery store!

      Firoza juma

      2 years ago

      Do any one know where I can get sprouted coconuts from I live uk .


      10 years ago on Introduction

      Awesome! If you get stuck on a deserted island you'll be better off planting the coconut, unless there's plenty to go around.

      1 reply

      Reply 2 years ago

      Depends, are you confident of being alive in 6 years for it to fruit or is it better to meet immediate needs? lol


      10 years ago on Introduction

      I'd love to try this but we don't have many coconut trees in England... I can buy brown nuts with no husk or green ones with a husk, are either of those likely to sprout?

      5 replies

      Reply 2 years ago

      Where do u get green ones with husk in England? :)


      Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

      Only a healthy mature coconut with brown husk intact will sprout, once you remove the husk, it will never sprout (maybe because air or fungi gets inside the shell, or the juice dries up)

      Dark Solar

      10 years ago on Step 5

      It looks like there's a lot more stuff inside your coconut than there is inside the ones I usually get at the market. Ummm...?

      3 replies
      alexglowDark Solar

      Reply 5 years ago on Step 5

      That's because it's sprouted. :) My friend Rich says that part is like cotton candy!

      Dark SolarUlfer

      Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

      Well, therein lies part of the problem; I did get a coconut that, while not sprouted, was full of something visually like what your pictures show--but it turned out to be some kind of fungus. Anyway...all the more reasong to attempt a sprouting of my own. Thanks for the pointers.


      I was walking after camping two days ago and came across an area with sprouting coconuts every where! So I ate one and brought two with me in my bag:-) cant let you know what island i'm on though this place its getting crowded enough as is. Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know if you are careful when opening the coconut sprout you can eat the endosperm and still replant the coconut tree! So everyone is happy!:-) you might be stealing some of the nutrients that would have went to the tree but it will live, just remember to say thank you!


      8 years ago on Step 2

      rarely, you may find a coconut with two sprouts, but elders say it's not good for planting, i think maybe because, when they grow up, they will compete for nutrition and sunshine, the the trunks will "lean" opposite ways.


      8 years ago on Step 4

      you can eat the core of the sprout raw. no need to cook it.

      the meat becomes thinner and mushy and taste oily, the nubbin grows and fills the shell and replace the juice and meat.


      8 years ago on Step 6

      that little nubbin is more delicious than the older spongy one..