Coconuts are drupes, rather than nuts, and the coconut meat is also known as the fruit, mesocarp or simply the coconut. Coconuts have three layers, which include the exocarp, mesocarp and endocarp.
Coconuts are classified as drupes rather than nuts because drupes are fruits that have a hard covering that encloses the seed. The three layers that compose coconuts include the exocarp, which is the hard outer layer; the mesocarp, which is the fleshy and meaty middle layer; and the endocarp, which is the hard layer that surrounds the seed. Coconuts also include coconut water and milk.
Coconuts are very nutritious, and the meat features phytosterols, which have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels. The meat is also a great source of fiber.
To open whole coconuts and access the water and meat, wear gloves and use a hammer and a screwdriver to break open the tough shell. Puncture the eyes of the shell with the screwdriver and drain out and collect the water into a clean bowl. Then start to hammer in circles around the shell until it starts to crack, and use the screwdriver to pry the shell into two halves. Scrape the meat away from the shell with a sharp utensil, and remove the brown skin. Dehydrate, bake or consume the coconut meat raw.