Ah, the young coconut -- one of nature's super foods. I'm a big fan and have been using young coconuts in soups and smoothies for quite some time now. They're becoming more prevalent; I could only get them at my local Asian supermarket (for $1.89!), but now I'm finding them in the produce section of the regular grocery store (for a bit more). After researching the benefits of the young coconut, I've found that one whole coconut has only 140 calories and provides 17% of the recommended daily intake for calcium, which is good for someone who can't get her calcium from dairy. I know when I think of coconut, I usually associate a high saturated fat count, which is not the case with the young coconut: there are only three grams of saturated fat per coconut. There's no cholesterol, 50 mg sodium, 28 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber,15 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein packed into this little tee-pee shaped seed.
In the following photos, I will attempt to chronicle the way in which I open up a young coconut. As shown above, you'll want to start by cutting off the pointy tip of the husk. You will need a sharp and sturdy knife for this, so be careful. The trick here is to start cutting only an inch or two from the very tip of the husk, otherwise you will try and cut the seed which can't be done.
Next, it's best to use some blunt object, or the base of your knife and find the sweet spot on the top of the seed. Really, you're just trying to make a little crack here. After a few whacks, you should have found it (you might get a little bit of coconut water on you).
After that, it's best to start cutting a circle around the top of the seed. It should be a somewhat painless process as the crack you created should have helped get the process started.
And there you have it. A young coconut. You can drink the coconut water straight from the coconut (though I think it's best cold) and scoop out the flesh with a spoon (good in salads with mango and avocado). They are both very tasty.
Or make a smoothie out of it: place the coconut water and coconut meat in a blender. Add a banana, some almond milk and some ice and you have yourself a delicious smoothie.