The art of buying coconut: Learn to pick the most ripe, water-filled ones

Photo: iStock/RahulDsilva

If the word (or the idea of) Kerala has a flavour, what would it be? Coconutty, without any doubt. This tropical piece of heaven is so connected to coconut, from their cuisine to haircare, that even the region was named after its favourite palm tree - which is Kera or coconut tree. The day-to-day lives of Keralaites are so connected to coconuts which make them an important grocery item at shops and supermarkets. But how do you find out which one to pick? How to identify the 'right' one from a mass of bald-head-looking coconuts from the crate? Let us teach you.

Shape: Always observe the shape of the coconut when you buy them. Nice and round coconuts contain lots of water. However, coconut with a slightly elongated shape may be old and would not have too much water. This coconut is good to be added as a paste in curries.

Water: Do not forget to shake the coconut well before buying it. This would help you determine whether the coconut is fresh or not; or whether it is just tender. Shake the coconut closer to your ears to listen to the sound of the water inside. As tender coconuts are filled with water, you might not hear the sound of moving water if shaken. Besides, tender coconuts are heavier than regular ones. In case you need ripe coconut, then make sure the water shakes nicely inside the shell.

Weight: The weight of the coconut is an important factor. The coconuts that aren’t too ripe would be heavier and filled with water. Do not buy coconuts that are too light as they may be bad. It is better to buy coconuts that are slightly heavy and have water inside.

As bottled drinks and fancy beverages trickled into our midst, many forgot nutrients-rich coconut water, even though it's still easily available in Kerala. Photo: Shutterstock/NUM LPPHOTO

Husk colour: If you are buying coconut with husk, you could observe the colour to determine its freshness. The outer surface of the husk would be green in colour. The coconut would be fleshy and would be filled with sweet water too. However, if the outer surface is brown or looks dull, then the coconut may not be fresh.

Do not forget to check whether the outer surface of the husk has any black spots or scratches. In case you find such spots, avoid buying them. Moreover, smell the coconut to ensure it doesn’t have a stale odour.  

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