The Ripening Process
At just 6 months old, coconuts are usable for drinking.
Young coconuts like this contain only water (no meat).
At 7 months old, thin "jellymeat" begins to build on the inside shell.
(as this happens the water gets sweeter)
As the cocos ripen, the water will continue to sweeten & the meat will keep thickening.
At 8 months delicate "spoonmeat" is forms.
At 9 months the meat begins to firm up into "rubbermeat"
Each month the fat content of the meat increases.
At 10 months the meat conatins enough fat to make milk.
The sweet water is transforming into fat.
For that reason the coco is no longer full of water and when u shake it, u hear water sloshing around inside
Thats why these cocos are called "shakers"
A few months later the nuts will turn brown & fall naturally from the tree.
These are the fully mature seeds of the coconut!
Brown coconuts are the richest in fat & are used to make creme & oil.
7 months old
also called "drinkers" or "young drinking cocos"
The youngest edibile stage of coconut, "poppers" have become the hottest new drink trend here in Hawaii. Wonderfully refreshing, drinking one of these coconuts on a hot tropical day can, literally bring you back to life. Thats because the water inside has a near perfect balance of nutrients, electrolytes & minerals for the human body.
At this stage the coconut is so full of water, it is pressurized (like an over filled water ballon). When opened, an audible pop sound is heard and water comes shooting out, hence the name "poppers". This water is some of the purest you can find in the tropics. For nine months the water filtered, slowly up through the trunk, before entering the coconut. Nature's reverse osmosis system!
To open the top or "cap" is 1st removed by lightly prying. (The cap is actually the female flower petals). Under this a pink ring is usually visible, an good indicator that the coconut is a popper. Poppers are best opened using a "brazilian coconut key", an incrediably useful tool which puntures a perfect hole for drinking & pouring out the water. Poppers typically have no meat inside (the meat developes in the later stages). So they're primarly use is for drinking, hence they are called "drinkers".
You can easily identify poppers by using “the knock trick”. Poppers vibrate when knocked wth your knuckle because they are under pressure, unlike older stages which make a wood like sound when knocked. With a little practice, you can easily learn to identify poppers just by knocking on them.
Poppers are typically bought in bulk at farmers markets for around $2 - $3 each (in bulk) or at roadside stands for around $5. We suggest buying them "on the rack" (they will keep longer that way). Store them in a cool, shaded place and taking them off one at a time as needed.
NOTE - Occasionally, poppers do have a very thin, translucent layer of meat, called “ghost meat”.
ALSO NOTE - Though the water that sprays out of a popper is clear, it dries brown & will stain clothing
(so don't wear your favorite white shirt when opening ;)
8 months old
Jelly Meat Coconuts
also called "jelly nuts" or "drinkers"
"Jelly meat" coconuts are one month more mature than "poppers". The water inside is slightly sweeter (each month a coconut matures, the water inside sweetens). Most canned coconut water sold in stores come from this stage of maturity and the popular shaved "young thai coconuts" commonly sold in stores, are mostly jelly meat or spoonmeat coconuts.
Jelly meat coconuts can easily be identified using the "knock trick". Unlike poppers, the water inside jelly meat cocos are not under pressure, so the vibration is less pronouced (another age defining indicator).
Because jelly meat coconuts are still young, they haven't developed the hard "inner shell". So they too can be opened using a "coconut key". After drinking or pouring out the water, split them using a machete & you will find a thin layer meat, with a jelly like consistency, hence "jelly meat" or in Hawaiian `o`io.
Delicacte, mild and delicious, jelly meat can be some of the first solid foods given to babies (they love it) and for the elderly who have chewing & digestion issues it is a medicinal blessing. Some very fun and creative raw food recipes utilize jelly meat which we plan on posting in our recipe section soon.
9 months old
Spoon Meat Coconuts
"primo" or "nectar selectors"
One of our favorite stages, the water inside spoon meat coconuts is wonderfully sweet. Each month a coconut matures, the water inside sweetens. At this stage (near its prime sweeteness), some varieties have a hint of a vanilla flavor, one of the reason some coconut sellers call them “nectar selectors”.
These coconuts have had ample time to develope thier hard "inner shell" so a machete is needed to open them. Pour out the water, split in half and inside you’ll find delicious white meat. Usually about a 1/4" thick, this meat is easily removed using a spoon, hence "spoonmeat". Called Haohao in Hawaiian, this meat can be eaten straight, but it is great for thickening smoothies, coconut bacon, coconut noodles or blended to make coconut yogurt.
Because the water inside these coconuts is so delicious and a meal of delicous meat is included, spoon meat coconuts are also considered “primo”. Usually 2 to 3 dollars each (a great deal), its puzzling why more people dont eat this awesome food. Probably because a "machete" is needed to open them.
If you’ve never used a machete before it can be intimidating, but we know plenty of moms who do it everyday,
YOU CAN TOO!
Dont be afraid to try.
10 months old
Rubber Meat Coconuts
called "fizzy", "soda" or "champgne nuts"
Rubber meat coconuts have the sweetest water of all stages and sometimes an effervescent essence (carbonated bubbly taste) which resembles soda pop, hence the reason there are also sometimes called "soda", "fizzy" or "champagne nuts". The sweetness of the water, combined with the bubbles, makes these coconuts the perfect cocktail mixer.
At this stage the meat inside is thick and rubbery, hence the reason they are referred to as "rubber meat" nuts. Called ho`ilikole it was traditionally eaten raw, with red Hawaiian salt and poi. Blended, it is the secret to making incredible coconut yogurt.
Rubber meat coconuts have a well deveopled, hard inner shell and must be opened with a "machete". Removing the meat can be tricky, it is thick enough where a spoon no longer does the job. We recomend using "the coconut tool", an ingenious invention which will save u time and injury.
NOTE - Mistakenly believed to be fermented by bacteria or yeast, these coconuts are neither (no alchohal is produced).
11 months old
also called "meat nuts"
Shakers are the almost fully mature seeds of the coconut tree. Called the o`o stage in Hawaiian, the meat inside these cocos have begun to develope thier rich, healthy fats.
Shakers are the easiest of all ages to identify, because they make a odvious "sloshing" sound when shaken, hence the reason they are called "shakers". Shakers vary in weight, from heavy to VERY light for their size. The difference in weight is caused by the husk drying out & becoming lighter (an adaptation which allows the coconut to float across the ocean).
The lighter in weight, the older (or more mature) the coconut and the more mature, the richer the fat content of the meat inside. Shakers are primarly used for the meat (the water isnt especially tasty), hence the reason they are also called "meat nuts". This meat is the ideal age for coconut milk making .
The traditional and safest way to open a shaker coconut is by "husking". Husking takes a little time & practice to master but is a great skill to know. In many countries around the world, husking coconuts is the chore of children 5 - 10 years old, so u can definately learn. After you've split the nut you'll want to use "the coconut tool" to remove the meat, which can be quite stubborn to come out.
TIP - Place the meat in the sun for a few hours & it will pop out much easier
The empty shells & husks are also very useful. Bowls, rope, firewood, jewlrey, mulch & doormats are just a few of the many uses.
12 - 14 months old
Brown coconuts are the fully mature seeds of the coconut tree. They have the highest fat content and therefore provide the most calories and usefulness of all ages.
The easiest of all stages to acquire, brown coconuts are not picked. Instead these nuts drop, voluntarly, from the tree when perfectly ripe & ready, just as nature intended. Brown coconuts are simply gathered from off the ground, gifts from the tree, with no climbing skills required!
Called the Malo`o stage in hawaiian, brown coconuts are traditionally used to make coconut cream. Uniquely rich in a type of saturated fat called medium chain tryclycerides, a fat that is incredibly healthy. Yes, fats can be good for you! People who live in the tropics traditionally eat coconut cream in some form everyday and many receive up to 60% of thier daily calories directly from coconut fat. They have have virtually no heart disease!
Research is showing that this fat has a long list of medicinal benefits including the prevention and possibly reversal of alzhiemiers. We use these coconuts to make our coconut oil and coconut ice cream.
Brown coconuts have yet another benefit, which is by far its greatest value. A brown coconut has the potential to sprout and grow into a coconut tree which will produces 1000's of coconuts in its lifetime.
Only brown cocos which have been maturing on the tree for 13 to 18 months have this ability. Hence it is incredibly important that some trees remain wild or un-trimmed, allowing the trees to produce the offspring, or keiki for planting of future generations..
14 - 20 months old
also called "baby coconut trees" or "keiki"
A few months after falling from the tree, brown nuts sprout to become a baby coconut tree.
Sprouted coconuts are easy to find in the jungle, around the base of wild, untrimmed trees.
Sprouters represent the completed lifecycle of the coconut tree.
Planted wisely and properly cared it will grow into a fully mature coconut tree in just 4 years.
NOTE - some people eat sprouted coconuts as a delicasy. Though it is a special treat, the karmic bagggage of eating a baby coconut, which is capable of producing THOUSANDS of coconuts in its lifetime is very, very heavy. Tradition & custom requires you plant (at least one) sprouter before considering eating one.
NOTE - If you have collected brown coconuts which have not yet sprouted and wish to propogate them, keep in mind moisture is a key factor, spray them with a little water each day, to encourage sprouting.