Wednesday 7 October 2015

Fresh Coconut Water | Coconut & Chia Seed Pudding.

The humble coconut... For me, not only do they conjure up images of tropical islands, white sandy beaches and pure blue skies, they also happen to taste amazing and have lots of practical uses too. Having said that, I much prefer talking about ways to eat (and drink!) them!

With the unusually warm weather recently, I've started buying young Thai coconuts from the fruit and vegetable section in Supervalu. I pop them in the fridge and when the weather reaches 'too hot' (so strange for October!) I sip on one to cool down.

If there was ever a way to transport yourself to a desert island just for a moment, this is how! The chilled, fresh water sipped straight from a young coconut is so hydrating and delicious, I'm going to go as far as saying it's probably the best drink in the world!

A few weeks ago they were only €1 in Supervalu - which made them even cheaper than buying a carton. Since then they have gone back up to €2.49 but unfortunately I'm slightly addicted to the fresh stuff now so I'm still buying them instead of my usual coconut water.

Usually, I buy the brown, mature coconuts which we're used to seeing in supermarkets.

But recently young Thai coconuts have started appearing on the shelves, which are cone shaped at one end and white in colour. You can also buy young coconuts year round from the Asia Market on Drury Street.

FYI, a young coconut starts out with a green outer skin and white fibrous layer underneath, surrounding what will eventually become the brown, haired coconut. Originating from south Asia, Hawaii and the Caribbean, the young coconut is cut from the palms and the green layer is chopped away. The white layer underneath is then wrapped in cling film ready to be shipped or sold.

Both young and old coconuts contain the pristine coconut water. However, young coconuts contains more of the water which has, in my opinion, a more vibrant taste. Brown, old coconuts contain more white meat and the small amount of water contained inside tastes much sweeter than a young coconut. The meat from the mature coconut has an intense flavour and is used to add a coconut flavour to sweet and savoury dishes. Meat from inside a young coconut is also delicious but has a soft, subtle flavour and is gel-like in texture. It can be used in smoothies and desserts to give a thicker consistency and mild coconut flavour.

Fresh Coconut Water | How to Open a Young Coconut

First things first, pop your young coconut in the fridge for a few hours but preferably overnight. The fresh coconut water is even more delicious when sipped ice-cold from a straw on a hot day.

Next, there are two options.

The coconut can be cracked open with this tool.

Image source:

However, if like most people you don't happen to have one of these knocking around the kitchen then a hammer will do. Slice the fibrous white husk away from the pointed side with a sharp knife revealing the hard coconut inside.

Then, all you need to do is give the coconut a few bangs all the way around where the hard coconut meets the white husk and the top will come off.

Or else you could do what I do. Open the coconut from the 'wrong' end.

Usually a coconut is opened from the pointed end. You can then stand it up on the flat side as you sip. But without the coco jack it can be a somewhat arduous task. If you open it from the flat side all you need to do is slice off the white husk and then insert a straw through one of the three holes. Much easier!

Once you've drained all the delicious water the soft white meat will be left inside. Not one to let anything (especially food!) go to waste here is a recipe to use up the wonderful young coconut meat.

Coconut & Chia Seed Pudding

What you'll need:

  • 2 cups of young Thai coconut meat
  • ½ cup of coconut water
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar or honey
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • Blueberries
  • Lemon wedge
  • Seed mix

How to make it:

Give the middle of the coconut a few bangs all the way around with a hammer and pull apart.

The white jellied meat will scoop out easily with a spoon. One young coconut yields about a cup of coconut meat.

Pop the white meat into a juicer or liquidiser with half a cup of coconut water and blend until smooth.

Next add the vanilla, salt and honey, and blend to combine. Remove to a large bowl. Stir in the chia seeds and refrigerate for at least an hour.

To serve top with berries, a lemon wedge and mixed seeds.

So good!

You can read more about coconuts on Maison Jen:

Nuts about coconuts: Part one

Nuts about coconuts: Part two

How to get healthy, glowing skin


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