As I was scrolling through Instagram—you know, as you do—something stopped me in my tracks: a spongey-looking coconut. That’s definitely not something you see every day. And after further research, I realized what I was looking at was a sprouted coconut.
Coconuts are typically harvested at six to seven months for coconut water and 12 months for coconut meat, but by waiting a few months longer, the sprouting process is able to take place. When the coconut falls naturally to the ground, the tiny seed inside slowly fills up the coconut as it consumes the meat and water.
If left on the ground, the stalk that sprouts from the coconut would become a coconut tree. But if you harvest sprouted coconuts, remove the husk, and crack the coconut shell open, what you’ll find is a totally edible—and super-spongey!—cotton candy-like ball in the center.
“A sprouted coconut has a living plant embryo inside the shell,” Rane Roatta, co-founder of Miami Fruit, tells me. “Just like many people sprout their nuts at home, we sprout our coconuts at our farm. Sprouted nuts are said to contain more enzymes and nutrients that are more bioavailable.”
According to Roatta, sprouted coconuts have a wide range of tastes. “They can be described as sweet, savory, or sometimes not noteworthy at all,” he says. The main reason why people love them is for their intriguing texture, which he says is sponge-like and crispy. It’s been compared to both sponge cake and cotton candy, making it a fun food to enjoy in many different ways.
So, how exactly do you eat a sprouted coconut? If you get one (you can buy them on Amazon!), you first have to try it plain. You can even dip pieces in the coconut oil that’s also in that shell, as demonstrated in the video below. You can also get creative: “I love sprouted coconut veggie burgers, but dipped in chocolate is good too,” Roatta says. One thing’s for sure: Eating one will definitely be an experience you’ll never forget.