The coconut is a real king of the kitchen, used in culinary treats from fragrant Sri Lankan curries to rich, non-dairy ice cream. It's also easy to freeze, ready to throw into whatever exotic concoction you might dream up. Coconut milk, oil and water are all hugely popular, as is dried and shredded coconut often used for baking. But, as anyone who's ever visited an idyllic tropical isle might tell you, nothing beats the taste of a freshly-cracked coconut straight from the tree. Failing that, removing and enjoying the fresh meat straight from a store-bought coconut is still pretty close to paradise. Whether you've bulk-bought coconuts or just aren't able to eat through a full one before it's past its prime, you can freeze the raw meat to enjoy later. Frozen coconut meat can last at least six months in the freezer, so you can always have a little taste of paradise within hands-reach.
If you've ever wrestled with the hard outer layer of a coconut, you know that removing the tasty, fresh meat from its shell without wasting the coconut milk is a real challenge. Coconuts have three "eyes" that can be easily punctured, making accessing the milk inside easy.
Find the softest of the three eyes and push with a skewer to create a half-inch hole. Drain into a jug or bowl, shaking to release all the liquid. You can freeze this separately or combine with the meat. Hold or cover the coconut with a towel, and tap with a hammer while turning. The shell should begin to crack so you can prize it in half by hand.
Remove the Meat
Place each coconut, cut side down, on a chopping board and gently tap with a mallet. This should help loosen the meat from the shell so it can be easily separated with a butter knife.
Break It Down
Peel away the brown skin before shredding the meat with a sharp knife, grater or food processor. You can also freeze the meat in chunks, though it might become soggy on defrosting. If your frozen meat does end up more of a mush, it is ideal for sauces or blended into an ice cream. A light sprinkling of sugar will help the chunks keep better too.
Bag It Up
Place the processed coconut in a freezer bag, adding a little of the liquid if you like. Be sure to squeeze all the air from the bag before sealing and leave some space at the top as the coconut may expand when frozen. You can do the same with a plastic container, or divide the meat into ice-cube trays for easy-to-use portions. Top with a little coconut water and you can drop straight in drinks or smoothies.
Freeze for Later
Seal the bag or container and place the coconut in the freezer, where it should keep for around six months. Freezing changes the consistency and makes the meat softer. Defrost in the fridge for use in Thai curries, stir fry or desserts.