Food52 Life

Test Kitchen Outtakes: Of Coconuts and Crockpots

May  8, 2013

Creativity in the kitchen is a joy, but it's also, often, a necessity. Don't have a tart pan? Hack one. Don't own a salad spinner? Use tea towels to dry your greens.

This week in the test kitchen, we got creative with both our tools and our workspace. Because sometimes we need to open a coconut without a machete. Or a crockpot needs to be tended to on the floor rather than the countertop. What can we say? We're a resourceful bunch. See the evidence below, share your favorite kitchen hacks in the comments, and remember to follow us on Instagram for more!


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Our newest coconut hack. We were on a super-secret mission to open a coconut yesterday, but there was no machete or cleaver in sight -- so our intern Will had to get resourceful. A hammer ended up doing the trick, after poking two holes with a screwdriver to drain the sweet water inside. Lucky for us, the result was beautiful, and everyone went home with two hands and ten fingers.


Shameless ingredient porn. This is a very beautiful coconut half. You're welcome.


Back to resourcefulness! This is Kristen tending to a Genius Pot Roast on Amanda's floor. Because sometimes that's where the slow cooker lives. The result was worth her floor-stirring, though -- see her beautiful Mother's Day recipe (and James' beautiful photos!) here.

Tell us: what are your favorite kitchen hacks?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • MaryMaryCulinary
  • Panfusine
  • SuSu
  • Marian Bull
    Marian Bull
  • Kitchen Butterfly
    Kitchen Butterfly
Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



MaryMaryCulinary May 8, 2013
I just hold it in my hand and hit it with a hammer around the equator to get perfect halves. I don't even drain the water--just do it over a bowl to catch it. Then I use my hand-cranked, table-mounted coconut grater to make fine shavings of it.
Marian B. May 9, 2013
I love those coconut graters! I saw a lot of them when I was in India. My favorites are the ones attached to boards/cutting boards with that toothy grater jutting out.
Panfusine May 8, 2013
I usually drench the exterior of the coconut shell with water before cracking it open, it helps ensure that the shell doesn't shatter (with the claw part of a hammer, Never with my precious chefs knife). worst case scenario, just take it to the curbstone and smash it on the rim!
Kitchen B. May 8, 2013
superb tip to drench coconut in water. Science at work! And concrete floors work well!
Panfusine May 8, 2013
more like tips gleaned from Grandma.. One of these day's when I visit India, I'll post pics of dehusking the nuts as well. there's a special lethal tool for that, takes all of 1 minute to peel the nut!
beyondcelery May 8, 2013
Great idea, I'm totally trying that! Incidentally, my husband bought me a machete one Christmas just so I could use it to open coconuts. Ya, we like fresh coconut in our house.
SuSu May 8, 2013
peeling ginger with the tip of a small spoon - gets into all the nooks & crannies.
laurenlocally May 10, 2013
One of my favorite tricks as well Susu!