The young coconut is the perfect thirst quencher after a day in the sun. Whether you are hiking on Guam's mountains, or swimming at the beach, be sure you have a container of young coconut, or månha in Chamorro, sitting in the fridge for when you get home.
How do you know which green coconut to pick on the tree?
The husk should be a rich green with no yellowing, and the husk should be smooth. The shape of the coconut should be more round than oblong. If it has fallen off a tree already or has been picked, shake the coconut. You should hear a lot of the juice sloshing around.
How do you pick the young coconut from the tree?
Chamorros use a picking stick called a gaole, pronounced gow-lee. The one used in the video has a blade at the end. Be careful when using a gaole that you are not standing under the falling coconut. Of course, you can always climb up the tree too, or use a ladder. Be sure to include about six inches of the stem when you make your cut.
How do you open the coconut?
You need a sharp machete and a sturdy surface. Hold the månha by the stem such that the pointed end is on the edge of a solid table. Carefully whack at the edge of the månha to cut out a spoon. Make a few more cuts along the same spot until you reach the white fruit. Poke a hole into the fruit and drain the juice into a container. With the cut side faced down and your free hand out of the way, give the coconut a big whack in the center. You may have to give it a second big whack in the same spot. Pull the månha apart with your hands.
Guam PDN article: To månha or to coconut? That is the question
Guam PDN online exclusive: How to identify and harvest coconuts
Here are links to several desserts Chamorros make with young coconut:
Young Coconut Soup
Young Coconut Soup
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