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May 05, 2017

There's more to coconuts than meets the eye. Aside from the milk they produce, coconuts are used in making ropes, baskets, instruments, and oil-to name a few.

Availability & Origin
Over 80 percent of the world's supply of coconuts comes from the Philippines and Indonesia. Available year-round, they also grow in Africa, other areas in Asia, and two states in the U.S.; Hawaii and Florida.

Appearance & Flavor
There are two different varieties of coconuts: common and young. The common variety are brown and the young are a whiteish-brown. Coconuts have their own unique flavor and that flavor hits in the back of the throat. The best coconuts are dense and contain a lot of water, not to mention should not have cracks or mold. To check for water, shake it and listen for sloshing. Less water inside the coconut can indicate a crack that allowed the water to leak or that air got in and caused the water to evaporate. Common coconuts have three spots-called eyes-and one of those eyes is not surrounded by a raised shell. Ensure that this eye is clean and shows no discoloration.

Whole common coconuts can last a week on the counter, two weeks in the fridge, and four months in the freezer in a tolerant bag. Whole young coconuts will last a few weeks when refrigerated. After cutting them open, either variety can be placed in plastic wrap in the fridge and will last one week. The common coconut flesh can be frozen in a freezer bag or container for up to three months, but do not freeze the young variety.

Ways to Enjoy
Not sure how to open your coconut? We've got you covered. Take a look at these instructions for opening and draining common and young coconuts. Young coconuts are mainly used for their water/milk as a sweetener in soups, drinks, and dressings. The flesh and water of the common variety can be added to pudding, cakes, cookies, pies, and enjoyed raw. Whether you prefer common or young, we found you a delicious recipe.

Fossil records in New Zealand state that coconut-like plants existed over 10 million years ago. It is believed that Hawaii's coconut plants came from Polynesian voyagers and that southern Florida's coconuts washed ashore and rooted themselves on the beach. For the full story, click here.

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