We're lucky that coconuts are grown here in the tropics of South Florida! While not native to the sunshine state, coconuts have long thrived here since floating ashore from a Spanish shipwreck in 1878, and even served as inspiration for our county's name.
However, the majority of coconut products we consume come from South Asia, not our own stomping ground. The demand for coconut has grown enormously in recent years, while production has stagnated. Here are a few factors to consider when you reach for a jar of coconut oil from the store:
- What are the environmental costs of its transportation?
- Are coconut farmers being fairly compensated?
- Were these coconuts grown in a monoculture, and how does that affect the area's biodiversity and soil quality?
So one day, while walking down the street, we happened upon a scattering of these delicious delicacies and decided to get to cracking our own Flo-Grown coconuts!
Spoiler Alert: It's Hard Work!
With no machete lying around our kitchen, we took to smashing the coconuts' hard outer shells on our concrete slab of a porch. Maybe put your helmet or some goggles on if you follow this method, because flying coconuts can be a little dangerous! After splitting them open, we allowed the delicious coconut water inside to flow into a nearby bowl for collection.
Upon successfully making it to the coconut's next layer, we began the difficult task of prying the delectably fatty meat away from the brown husk exterior. We did this the hard way, chipping at it with our bare hands, but there are lots of great ideas on how to make this thankless task a heck of a lot easier (like this!)
We then strained our coconut water through coffee filters to rid it of any excess outer shell pieces, and shredded the white meat with a potato peeler to dehydrate. The process was lengthy, but there's nothing more satisfying than sprinkling your very own dried coconut flakes over a bowl of oatmeal, and then washing it down with some delicious coconut water!