Many of you will overlook the benefits of using fresh coconut because of the time and strain needed to 'peel' a coconut. But it really isn't that hard. And although raw coconut isn't nearly as flavorful as processed, sweetened coconut, it can be used in many recipes as long as a sweetener is used right along side this tropical "fruit".
Using a corkscrew, start in one of the eyes and turn corkscrew as if you are opening a bottle of wine, pulling as you would a cork. It will come right out. Do the same with one more eye, emptying out the coconut water inside. Place coconut in the oven and turn heat to 350-degrees F. When heat reaches desired temperature, bake 15 minutes and shut heat off. Leave coconut in oven for another 15 minutes: remove. Now there will be more liquid that has accumulated inside the coconut, so empty that out as well.
Looking at the coconut, you will see 4 lines going from end to end, spaced evenly around the coconut. With the blunt end of a chefs knife, or a hammer, tap on one of these lines, no need to hit very hard. The coconut will crack open, although it won't follow the line you tapped on, this is just the weakest "fault-line". Once cracked, break coconut apart with your hands. You can remove the meat but will still notice a brown skin surrounding the meat. This is easily removed with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. Now you have coconut to work with.
Raw coconut has very little taste, that's why when you buy prepared and shredded coconut, it is sweetened. If you would like more flavor out of your fresh coconut, follow the directions above but after cracking open, place these cracked pieces of coconut back into the oven to roast another 45 minutes. Roasting brings out the oil and provides much more flavor. It will also be much easier to separate the meat from the shell. You really don't need to peel of the brown skin after shelling. I eat it as is, but some of you may not like the aesthetic appeal.
I prefer the large knife method because any, and all, force used is concentrated in a much smaller area than it would be using a more blunt instrument, such as a hammer. Besides, it isn't going to take that much force to crack open. If you feel safer, simply take that corkscrew back out of the drawer and wind it in the third eye of the coconut(the one we didn't open to drain). Once inserted, all you have to do is wiggle it to the side and the coconut will crack. Grab the cracked coconut and break apart with your fingers once you are able to.
The Yankee Chef™
..........It's Just That Simple!