coconut with husk removed

Husking coconuts at home

 

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Husking  a coconut can be done in several ways. The simplest, also seen in a popular wilderness survival show is to use a flattened stake embedded in the ground to tear into the husk and then twist out the husk in sections till the whole coconut has been husked. This in essence must been the original technique for husking a coconut. I remember a more permanent version of this standing in grandma’s gadang (The store room) where this tool used to be kept, probably for fear that the kids might accidentally spear themselves with it if they fell over it. It was an iron rod about 1″ in diameter which was embedded in part of a tree trunk flattened on the underside, so that it stood with the rod  pointing upwards at about 75 degrees to its base.

The tip of the rod was ground to resemble a flat head screw driver with its square edges rounded off (or was it diamond shaped with the edges rounded off?). When we were old enough to use it, we would stand with one foot on the wood stand to keep it from tipping over and force the husk into the tip and wrench the coconut sideways and tearing off the husk strip by strip.

However, it can also be husked with the traditional multipurpose katti (sickle) with due care to avoid injuries from the blade. Lately a new mass produced dehusking tool is available in the market. It has a flat beak which is inserted into the husk, and then a lever lifted to open the beak and tear away the husk from the shell.

I don’t have photographs of our old coconut husker, I’ll try to get some pics when I go home next time provided my aunt has not sold it off to the scrap dealer. I am sure that there must be numerous other ways of dehusking coconuts -some even more efficient; this post just describes how I saw my elders doing it

We normally get hired hands to harvest our coconuts. This means that we get several sack fulls of coconuts which are dumbed in our gadang. By the time we use most of them, the husk is brown and dry. It is more difficult to de-husk a dry coconut than to de-husk a green coconut.
We normally get hired hands to harvest our coconuts. This means that we get several sacks full of coconuts which are dumped in our gadang. By the time we use most of them, the husk is brown and dry. It is more difficult to husk a dry coconut than to husk a green coconut.
There is a flower like portion on the top along with the stalk, I take it off as it makes de-husking easier
There is a flower like portion on the top along with the stalk, I take it off by hacking at it with the tip of the katti  as it makes husking easier
With the back of the katti, beat a groove into the coconut
With the back of the katti, beat a groove into the coconut
Strike the tip katti into the husk and twist it to loosen the husk along the grooves
Strike the tip of the katti into the husk and twist it to loosen the husk along the grooves
When enough has been freed on both sides, grab the strip of husk and peel it off as you would peel a banana
When enough has been freed on both sides, grab the strip of husk and peel it off with your hands just as you would peel a banana

Now all you need to do is to swing the tip of the katti into the husk a couple of inches away from the peeled area and twist the katti away from the peeled area. Do the same thing at a point below the initial cut and soon another strip of husk will be ready to be pulled out. Do this till the coconut is liberated from its husk.

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Using the new coconut husker available in the market:

 

This is what it looks like. The bottom portion js for holding it down with a foot.
This is what it looks like. The bottom portion is for holding it down with a foot.
After removing the stalk and the flower shaped cap, ram the husk at the tip into the flat beak while holding down the tool with your leg
After removing the stalk and the flower shaped cap, ram the husk at the tip of the coconut into the flat beak while holding down the tool with your leg
Lift the lever with your free hand while holding the coconut firmly in place. The husk should tear off the coconut
Lift the lever with your free hand while holding the coconut firmly in place. The husk should tear away from the coconut
Ram it in again a couple of inches away from the first cut and then pull on the lever again.
Ram it in again a couple of inches away from the first cut and then pull on the lever again.
Keep repeating it till all of the husk can be torn off from the coconut
Keep repeating it till all of the husk can be torn off the coconut

 

We dehusk only a few coconuts at a time as coconuts stay longer in their husks. Their shelf life and water content drops drastically once they are dehusked.

Note: If you are going to husk several coconuts at a time and will use them over a week or fortnight, it is good to leave a tuft of coconut coir covering the eyes -the shoot end of the coconut to prevent the coconut from going bad. Any damage to the soft eye (from where the shoot comes out) will cause the coconut to spoil.

Here is an interesting Youtube video on husking and breaking open a coconut without any tools!

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CREDITS: | Manorama Soans | Prabhavati Kunder | Sunayana Walters |

 

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3 thoughts on “Husking coconuts at home”

    1. Hi Daphna,

      Sorry for not seeing this comment earlier. I’m not sure where it is available in the US as I am based in India. You might need to check online if any are available for delivery. If I find something, I’ll post the link. The coconut spear we had in our grandma’s house was an inch thick iron rod fixed into a wooden base with the flat tip shaped almost like a screw driver except that it was rounded off. I’ve seen people use sharpened bamboo as a coconut spear quite successfully.

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