Should you ever be stranded on a tropical island—or if you really just hate knives—you might need to crack a coconut open without modern tools. It can seem like an impossible task, but it can be relatively easy and painless using a technique spotted by LIKECOOL from Grant Thompson, who runs the life-hack YouTube channel “The King of Random.”
If you’re out in the wild (or if you just happen to get a coconut with the husk still on), here’s how you can get into that sweet, sweet coconut flesh. Nestle your coconut in rocks—if you have access to a rocky beach, for instance—then get the biggest rock you can lift and raise it up about 4 feet high, dropping it directly on the coconut. You’ll probably need to drop it a few times before the strands of the husk begin to fray and crack. Then you can peel off the husk easily instead of spending hours trying to do it with your hands.
Once the husk is gone, find the hard ridge line that runs down the side of the coconut—you can find it by looking between the “eyes” on the coconut, two side-by-side dark spots on the top of the fruit. About halfway down that line is where you want to break it open. Line up that ridge perpendicular with the sharp side of a rock, and crack that center point onto the rock. That should split a line in the center of the coconut, allowing you to pull it open.
Thompson’s method isn’t the only one, though. A stick-based method can also work, though it comes with a much greater risk of slamming your hand into the sharp stick and involves much more physical labor. Instead of slamming the husked coconut against a rock, you bury the stick in the sand or in rocks, and crack the coconut against the stick, trying to work the fruit down along the stick to open it up. Then you crack it against the same ridge on a sharp rock, rotating it a quarter of the way around and smacking it against the rock on each side.
Teaser image by HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images