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To store, a coconut will keep at room temperature for a week or two. For longer storage, refrigerate. Grated coconut will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks.
To get the most out of this hard fruit, drill two holes in the "eyes" of the rounder end of the coconut. Drain the liquid. A straw may be inserted to drink the milky-colored liquid. Or set the fruit in a bowl and let the liquid drip out. To open the shell, place in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes, until the shell begins to crack. Cool briefly and strike with a hammer along the crack. Pry out the flesh with a knife. The juice is superb added to fruit salads or mixed with rum. Coarsely grated, the coconut meat may be substituted for dried packaged coconut. Add grated fresh coconut to salads. Serve with curry. Flavor puddings, custards, cakes, cookies, frosting and a variety of confections and baked goods. Incidentally, the liquid in the coconut is called coconut water. Coconut milk is different and produced when boiling water is poured over grated coconut meat, leaving it to cool and squeezing the liquid through a cloth. Twice as much water by volume as grated coconut produces "milk" of normal consistency. Half the amount of water will yield thicker "cream". The cream and whey will separate when refrigerated so it should be combined by stirring or shaking prior to use.
Containing iron, protein and potassium. A good source of fiber, coconut meat contains saturated fat, a rarity for a fruit or a vegetable.