homemade unsweetened coconut flakes

September 6, 2011

Last week, one of my students gave me a coconut.

September 5, 2011 015
I’m not sure what that really means. I mean, I’ve heard of bringing teachers an apple. I’ve heard of some fresh tomatoes from the garden. I’ve even heard of students bringing their teachers Starbuck’s gift cards. Okay, the last one never happens on a regular basis, but a coffee lovin’ addict can dream, right?

So anyways, it’s the end of the day. The kids are going crazy. There’s incessant chatter. There’s chairs going up on desks (that’s supposed to happen, people). I’m trying to sign assignment notebooks left and right so my students can make the bus. It was looking a little bit hairy. I was helping a student get her things ready for the end of the day, when she told me to wait because she had forgotten to give me something. In she reached into her backpack, and out came… a coconut.

It was at that moment I became a proud teacher.

So I brought that coconut home. I put it on top of my fridge. I looked at it every day when I reached up for my daily banana, contemplating just what I would use it for. I had other co-workers ask me.. “what are you going to use that coconut for?” Good question folks.. good question.

I took the plunge yesterday — I cracked that sucker down on the concrete slab in my backyard and watched as all of the coconut water dripped down the rugged exterior and onto my grass. That might seem blasphemous to you coconut water loving fools, but unless it’s chocolate flavored Zico, I want nothing to do with it.

September 5, 2011 020

The next item on my agenda was somehow getting all of that coconut meat out of the shell. Let me just tell you, it was not an easy feat. It took a large sharp knife, a wrench (really.), and all the patience of a fifth grade teacher. Thankfully it was worth it because my hands are feeling quite soft and delicate from all that nut handling.

September 5, 2011 034

But it was worth it. Who knew that one coconut yielded about 3 cups of shredded coconut? I had no clue, and I’m not even sure how much one coconut costs. However, I feel like it’s more cost efficient. Not to mention that saying you made your own coconut flakes just sounds hardcore. And hardcore I am not, so I need all the help I can get in that department – thankyouverymuch.

September 5, 2011 025 
Homemade Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

Yields: 3 cups coconut flakes
Difficulty: easy
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 4-6 hours

  • 1 coconut
  • dehydrator (or oven on lowest setting)

Directions: Begin by cracking your coconut down on a hard surface until it breaks open. Then, using a sharp knife, cut out the coconut meat by getting your knife as close to the shell as possible. Once you have loosened some coconut meat, break it off the shell or scoop it out with a spoon. After your coconut meat has been removed from the shell, cut off the brown meat. To make the coconut shreds, use the shredding tool on your food processor or use a grater. Once your coconut has been shredded, spread it across a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate in between 105-115 degrees for 4-6 hours. If you do not have a dehydrator, use your oven on the lowest setting possible.

September 5, 2011 022
I feel like I’ve done it all now. I have tackled a coconut. Seriously, how many people can truly say that? I am so hardcore.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) September 6, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Haha you ARE hardcore!! I am just lazy/not-hardcore and buy my coconut flakes! :P

Also I LOVE that your student gave you a coconut!! Most random but best gift EVER! :D


Kate September 6, 2011 at 6:05 pm

ahh I had no idea you could make your own coconut flakes, ive bought those coconuts before but never end up using them, I prefer young coconuts! Ill have to try this.


Katie September 6, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Love it! Neverv knew u could do that! Learn something new every day ; )


Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather September 6, 2011 at 6:08 pm

So cool! I have yet to tackle a coconut. It’s a dream of mine, haha. Hope your Starbucks dream comes true someday… But a coconut is pretty cool until that happens right?


Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries September 6, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Haha I love your humor. But in all seriousness, good to know about coconuts! I surely never knew!


Lauren @ What Lauren Likes September 6, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Hahah that is seriously one of the best teacher gifts I have ever heard of!! Sounds like it was worth the work :)


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga September 6, 2011 at 6:25 pm

coconut water is THE BEST!!! Seriously girl, a delicacy! I make homemade (countertop) coconut water + coconut milk dairy-free kefir, homemade “gatorade” with it…I would have been licking the concrete after the water drained out of your coconut. lol

Your flakes turned out GREAT!!!


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen September 6, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Two things: I love that you had the patience to make your own shredded coconut, seriously…amazing.
and, “my hands are feeling quite soft and delicate from all that nut handling.” <–TWSS! :)


cleaneatingchelsey September 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm

I wish I knew what TWSS meant.


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen September 6, 2011 at 8:08 pm

That’s what she said!


cleaneatingchelsey September 6, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Gotcha – now it’s funnier. :)


Lara @ TresLaLa September 6, 2011 at 6:29 pm

My hubby made some dessert with fresh coconut “meat” one year on Valentine’s Day. I was banished from the main floor of our house, so he could “prep”. I then heard our electric drill, and a number of banging noises from what I later found out to be the sledgehammer hitting the coconut. An hour later, he proudly served dessert in the halves of the coconut. I was wiping sleep from my eyes because I had fallen asleep waiting for it! :P


cleaneatingchelsey September 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm

haha! Sounds kind of like my experience!


Lauren September 6, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Okay, this seems too easy!!! Seriously, I would NEVER EVER buy a coconut from the store and think to make my own flakes. Haha, that would be like my buying a bag of apples to make juice. I love the concept but I don’t have nearly enough patience or ambition.


Ashley September 6, 2011 at 6:38 pm

I love fresh coconut, but for some reason I really don’t like it dried. Your coconut shaving skills impress me though.


Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles September 6, 2011 at 6:38 pm

What a cool gift! You must be one awesome teacher. I battled with a young coconut in 90* heat once and I swore off them, but perhaps I could try this. Sans dehydrator, since I’m not that fancy (yet).


Marty September 6, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Mixed with yogurt and berries…yum! Gotta try this!


Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health September 6, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Girl, you are totally hardcore…especially from all that nut handling ;) . I’ve never made anything with coconut flakes. I used to dislike coconut, but I think I’m starting to come around to it


cleaneatingchelsey September 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm

DING DING DING! You are the first winner to mention that joke.


Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health September 6, 2011 at 7:18 pm



Cait @ Beyond Bananas September 6, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I can’t get over the fact that a student gave you a coconut…


cleaneatingchelsey September 6, 2011 at 7:09 pm

It was beyond awesome.


christina September 6, 2011 at 7:02 pm

I am really impressed by this! Go you!


Missy September 6, 2011 at 7:07 pm

AND you could use them to make that sunflower seed butter I am still dreaming about.
I mean….that was crazy sexy cool.
I an’t wait till I get the moolah to try it.


Sara September 6, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Fruit teacher gifts are the best! I got a kiwi once… just chuckled and gobbled it up with my lunch. Heh.


Erica @ For the Sake of Cake September 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Wow, I’m impressed! I’d definitely be too intimidated to break into one of those!


Kristin @ eat healthy. be happy. live well. September 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm

What a unique gift from a student! My honey has come home with all sorts of gifts, but no coconuts! He tells the kids up front that he expects gift cards. He once came home with a $50 gift card to Outback!

And not to rub it in, but he gets Starbucks gift cards left and right at Christmas…and he doesn’t drink coffee!! He gets the peppermint lattes though. I think you should start campaigning right now to get those Starbucks cards!


cleaneatingchelsey September 6, 2011 at 7:45 pm

You can send those giftcards this way come Christmas time, please and thank you.


Christina @ This Woman Cooks! September 6, 2011 at 8:03 pm

That is so awesome! How sweet (?) of your student :D


Emily Fortin September 6, 2011 at 8:04 pm

I asked for a coconut for easter when I was 6 (dont ask I dont know why), my parents got me one, and when we went to crack it, it was brown and rotten on the inside. I have never bought one since because I was so disheartened!


Lindsay @ Lindsay's List September 6, 2011 at 8:51 pm

so what are you going to do with the flakes now?


Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles September 6, 2011 at 8:55 pm

3 cups!!! NO WAY! I would have never guessed! ….My kids are great at giving the flu or a cold, yep it’s their specialty! I want a coconut! :)


cleaneatingchelsey September 7, 2011 at 5:41 am

ps – I looked at the picture of your niece today. Oh my gosh is she gorgeous!


Amy B @ Second City Randomness September 6, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I think that’s hilarious. And really can’t wait to see what this kid brings you next. I mean… a coconut? It reminds me of the episode of sex and the city when Carrie’s on jury duty and every day she waits to see what random fruit the guy will pull out of his briefcase just to hold for the entire day.


Meredith @ Food, shoes, and booze September 6, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Oh my gosh! A coconut?? that is so random, but I love it!! Anyway… that’s a lot of shredded coconut.. enjoy it :)


peacebeme September 6, 2011 at 10:00 pm

I have to say I actually did this once when I was younger! My dad was buying coconuts for awhile and we would cut out the mean and save it and then shred chunks for recipes. I have never done a whole coconut at once though! So much work!


Leila @ Spinach and Skittles September 6, 2011 at 11:19 pm

OMG that is amazing! I had a kiddo bring me an apple today, but your coconut takes the cake!


Kelly September 7, 2011 at 7:25 am

Impressive…truly impressive. I probably would have let it rot.


Evan Thomas September 7, 2011 at 8:20 am

When I was in NY, I bought opened coconut from grand central station and you could just snack on it. It was so good. That reminds me I’ve meant to buy a coconut for a while now. I think they’re only like $1 each.


kimszym September 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Was there a story behind the coconut? Did she go one vacation somewhere. If I knew my kids teachers would appreciate a coconut as much as you did, I would buy them each one.


cleaneatingchelsey September 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm

no story really – i have a sign that says “aloha” so maybe there is a beachy feel?


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin September 7, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Haha that’s so random that she gave you a coconut! Was there any reason she chose to give you a coconut or was it just totally out of the blue?


Pure2raw Twins September 8, 2011 at 7:27 am

yum coconut flakes! I love getting fresh coconuts, though they are a little difficult to open haha but so worth it! I had fresh coconut chips over in Spain and when I got back to the states I made some myself and they are soooo good. now that reminds me I need to go get a coconut to make me some ;)


JohnB April 14, 2015 at 2:53 pm

There’s at least two far easier ways to get the meat out.

First option – freeze the nut for at least 12 hours then use a hammer to break the shell and leave the entire meat of the nut intact with the water still inside.

Second option, puncture two of the three “eyes” and let the water drain out. Crack the nut in half and then bake for 15 minutes at 225 or so. Let the nut cool and you should be able to remove the flesh from the shell. You might need to pry it with a screwdriver. This will leave a very thin brown skin on the outside of the flesh which you can easily remove with a peeler.

You’ll gain for more flesh from the nut instead of going at it caveman style.

Thought I’m fairly sure that is rather cathartic in and of itself.


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