Last weekend I ate the most delicious coconut of my life. I’ve always been a coconut lover, from a young age. But growing up, eating “coconut” meant: a) eating dried shredded coconut, b) eating a Bounty coconut candy bar, or c) when Mom would allow us the expenditure, buying a hard, brown, dry coconut from the supermarket (and eating it if we could manage to bash it open).
Having grown up in a non-tropical country, it was only as an adult that I realized the small brown coconuts I’d eaten from the supermarket as a cold-weather child were “mature” coconuts. So, the first time I saw a young coconut, fresh off the tree with the green husk still intact, I didn’t even recognize it as a coconut. I was delighted when the coconut vendor hacked it open with a machete and handed it to me to drink the fresh coconut water – the most thirst-quenching drink ever.
I’d never seen so much juice inside a coconut before, because mature coconuts have much less liquid in them. After finishing the drink, the immature coconut is chopped open to eat the flesh, which depending on the age of the coconut is still soft and sometimes like jelly. It is much tastier an easier to eat than a mature coconut, which has a drier and harder white interior.
Since experiencing this “coconut epiphany” some 5 years ago, I’ve become a regular consumer of green coconuts. In Monrovia, there are men who push coconut-filled wheelbarrows around town, with the green husk already trimmed off and a machete at hand to chop open your drink/snack for 25 L.D. ($0.35). They are good, but the coconuts we ate on the beach in Robertsport, picked fresh off the coconut palm, were heavenly.