Can you identify a bad coconut?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 09, 2013 at 4:05 AM

It's been a month since I decided to buy whole coconuts and make my own coconut milk in the blender to save on the $ of canned coconut milk and also to avoid the additives.

Exactly 50% of the coconuts I've bought have been off, smelly, mouldy whatever. They have been from a variety of stores, from standard supermarkets to open air markets, always get one out of every two rotten.

Is this just something you have to deal with, or is there a way to tell if it's off before opening it?

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on June 10, 2013
at 12:24 AM

You can certainly tell when they are definitely bad, but you can't always tell when they might be bad or just beginning to go bad.

  • The coconut should feel "heavy" (compared to others in the batch)
  • Shake the coconut. Can you hear the liquid inside? It should sound like it's mostly full, and not only a small amount of liquid sloshing around.
  • Avoid any that have mold already growing out of the 3 branch stalk connecting holes
  • Avoid any that have cracks

Some "premium" coconuts are sold as "easy open" coconuts that have lines scored around their equators. I find these coconuts actually worse - possibly because of micro-cracks the scoring causes letting mold in. They do open easier, however.

My main grocery store often carries both the "easy open" variety (often in a mesh bag), and "bulk" coconuts. The bulk ones are cheaper, and if you know how to open a coconut, aren't really that difficult to open to begin with. I find that the un-scored, "bulk" coconuts are always good (given that I still check each one thoroughly).

Also, note that you aren't guaranteed a good one in the batch the store has in stock! If none seem good to you, just don't get one that week, or until they get new stock.



on June 10, 2013
at 12:10 AM

I think the heavier the better. If they are light then there might be cracks and such to let the water out and mold causing nasties in. At least this seems plausible : )

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