In addition to drinking coconut water another thing we love to snack on here in San Pedro, Belize is homemade coconut chips made from the meat of the coconut. Here on the island we can find coconuts (most of the time) for $1.00 BZE to $3.00 BZE a coconut. If you want to try and make these delicious treats at home please be cautious as sharp knives and hammers are used in our “process”.
Before you begin, here is our disclaimer:
Do Not Attempt. These coconut chips were made in a controlled environment by only coconut certified professionals.
The first, and obvious step, is to find some good looking coconuts that still have the coconut water inside. To test this just shake it by your ear as you sing “Shake Your Groove Thing”. (The reason we have to buy our coconuts is because Ronnie has not yet mastered climbing the trees to pick fresh ones.) Once you get these babies home it’s time to get the water out. Ronnie’s preferred (and not-so-safe) method is just to make a hole in the coconut with a sharp knife – be careful! Don’t slip….I see his thumb is in a dangerous spot! Ronnie’s Tip: One of the “eyes” is soft…so poke around with your knife until you find the soft eye…that’s your target for the knife!
After the hole is made it’s time to pour out the fresh coconut water…..we just put the coconut on a glass and let it flow out. Note: if your coconut water is not flowing be sure that you put the hole on the bottom.
Once all of the coconut water is out, it’s time to crack that coconut open! How does Ronnie accomplish this feat without a machete? (By the way, notice how Lisa is not allowed anywhere near any of these dangerous tools)…..Ronnie holds the coconut in one hand and using a hammer hits the coconut as he rotates it. Ronnie’s Tip? “You want to hit it not as hard as Whack a Mole but harder than you would pet a cat”.
And there you have it! The coconut meat is exposed (and you thought pork was the other white meat, didn’t you?)
Now the coconut is open – but how do you get the coconut meat out of the shell? We found it easiest if you bake the coconut first….so get out a cookie sheet and place the coconuts meat side up. Pop them in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes and let those babies bake.
After the 25 or 30 minutes in the oven take them out. Ronnies Tip: Use an oven mitt! The pan does get hot.
Let the coconuts cool to the touch before moving on to the next step.
Now, how do you get the meat out of the coconut shell? Ronnie’s preferred method is by prying a butter knife between the meat and the shell…..The meat should pull away from the shell allowing you to pull it out.
Once you get the meat out of the shell it will still have a thin piece of brown skin on it…..we like to call it the coconut’s “hard candy shell”…..we’ve never eaten it, but we won’t run over there and stop you if you want to try it.
Ok, so now you have this coconut but it’s covered in it’s brown “hard candy shell”….how do you get this stuff off?
(Is anyone reading this still going to try making these? Seems like a pretty time consuming snack to make…but hey, we’ve got the time)
Ronnie discovered the best way to remove the brown skin is with a carrot or potato peeler…..it’s a messy job but someone’s got to do it. (Lisa is allowed to help with this step since the probability of injury is low)
Once you have all of the brown “skin” peeled off the delicious coconut meat it’s time to break it up into small snack sized bites! (Lisa is again allowed to help with this step). Once you have the “chips” down to the size you want store them in a ziplock bag in the fridge. Since we are definitely NOT the FDA we have no recommendations on how long you can actually keep these chips in the fridge or what the nutritional content of them is.
All we know is they are delicious!
Maybe this will help answer some of the questions we get about….. “what do you do all day?”