Buy and Store Coconut

Coconut is a delicious and healthy food to eat, whether it’s fresh coconut meat or dried coconut pieces. In order to get the best taste out of your coconut, you should take steps to ensure that you’re buying the best product and storing it properly.


Buying and Storing a Whole Coconut

  1. Find a place to buy coconuts. This might be at a grocery store near you with a great produce section, or perhaps you know of a coconut tree nearby. Make sure that you have a good selection of coconuts to choose from.
    • Although the best coconut season is from October to December, coconuts are being harvested all year long.[1]
  2. Choose a coconut that is heavy and full. Pick up a few different coconuts from the pile you’re choosing from. When you pick a coconut, you should pick one that doesn’t have any cracks in it and feels heavy and full. Put it up to your ear and shake it. It should sound like there’s water in it.[1]
    • A browner coconut will have more white meat on the inside, while a green coconut will be filled with more electrolyte-filled juice. Browner coconuts are older, and greener ones are younger.[2]
  3. Examine the eyes of the coconut for wetness and mold. On every coconut there are three “eyes,” or black spots. If these are moldy or not completely dry, avoid that coconut.[1]
  4. Drain the water from your coconut, if you want to. You might want to keep your coconut unopened for a while, but if you want to open your coconut, you should first drain the coconut water from it. Find a long hard object, such as a skewer or a screwdriver, and stick it in one of the holes in the coconut. One will usually be softer than the others. Stick the skewer all the way through the coconut and make a hole in the coconut.[3]
    • You can also use a corkscrew, if you have one, to open it like you would open a bottle of wine.[4]
    • Put the coconut upside down and drain the water. You can drink this water or store it.[3]
  5. Break the coconut open with a hammer. Wrap the coconut in a towel. Hit it with a mallet or a hammer until it breaks. Split it apart into the amount of pieces that you want. Rinse off the coconut.[3]
  6. Take the coconut meat off of the shell with a knife. If desired, use a knife with a rounded tip, such as a paring knife, to make an inverted V, about an inch long, into the meat of the coconut. This inverted V shape should allow you to pop that triangle of coconut meat out of the shell. Repeat this process until you’ve taken out all the meat.[5]
  7. Store your coconut. If you want to store your whole coconut, you can keep it at room temperature for about a week, in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks, and in the freezer for 6-8 months. If you take the meat off of the coconut or open it, you should eat it the same day, put it in the fridge for a week, or keep it in the fridge for 6-8 months.[6]Put it in an airtight container. Chill the coconut water in the refrigerator. Drink it as soon as possible.[7]
    • However, if the outside of the coconut turns grey or the meat inside turns a yellowish color, the coconut is expired and should not be eaten.[6] If coconut water smells sour and tastes bad, you should throw it away immediately.[7]

Buying and Storing Dried Coconut

  1. Choose what kind of dried coconut you want. There are many different types of dried coconut that you can use for different purposes. You can find it shredded or grated for cooking purposes, as well as in flakes or chips. It also usually comes sweetened or unsweetened.[2]
    • You can buy many different kinds of coconut, especially at health food stores that specialize in alternatives to dairy.
    • When you buy your dried coconut, check on which preservatives are in it, if any.
  2. Store your dried coconut. You can put it out in your kitchen, in the refrigerator, or the freezer. Packaged dried coconut will last for 4-6 months on the counter and 6-8 months in the fridge or the freezer. Put it in an airtight container.[6]
    • You should also consider the expiration date, if there is one.
  3. Make sure your dried coconut has not spoiled. Before you eat your dried coconut, you should make sure that it is still soft and white. If it has become hard and yellow, it has gone bad and should not be eaten.[6]

Buying and Storing Other Types of Coconut

  1. Buy coconut milk and store in the fridge or freezer. If you open it, it should last for 4-6 days in the fridge and 2 months in the freezer. Do not refrigerate in the metal can it frequently comes in; instead, put it in an airtight plastic container or a covered glass one. Freeze in an airtight container, if possible.[8]
  2. Extract coconut water from the coconut. Filter it, put it in a sterilized bottle, and chill immediately; if you do this, it will last for up to three weeks. If you do not have sterilized bottles, you should drink fresh coconut water as soon as possible.[7] If you bought coconut water from a store, chill it in the refrigerator until its expiration date.
  3. Store coconut flour in a cold place. You should be able to find it at a health food store, or at a store that frequently stocks alternative types of flour. You should keep your coconut flour in an airtight container in either the refrigerator or freezer. It will last 6 months in the refrigerator and 12 months in the freezer.[9]
  4. Seal coconut butter or coconut oil and store at room temperature. You should be able to find it at a health food store. Store it in a sealed glass container at room temperature. It should last for a few months.[10][11]
    • Coconut butter and oil are different things, but you store them in the same way.


  • Coconut milk blends beautifully with many dishes, including curries, soups and sauces.
  • Coconut water is great for poaching eggs or fish. It is also suitable for adding a tangy taste to soups, meat and poultry.
  • Often, a store will have a coconut opened for you to see the quality of that batch. It isn't a guarantee that the one you choose is a good one, but it does help to suggest that the batch is a good.


  • If you buy a rancid coconut by accident, return it to the store.
  • Expired food can make you sick. If your coconut looks or tastes “off,” do not eat it!

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Sources and Citations