Purple coconut — is it fresh or not?

White and purple coconut

If you’ve ever opened a young (drinkable) coconut and noticed the pulp is a light purplish instead of white, you’re definitely not the only one that thought it’s not fresh.

But don’t be hasty to throw it away. The short answer is that a purple color doesn’t always mean the coconut is not fresh and therefore past its “expiration” date.

Here are 5 things to check to see if a coconut is fresh or not:

  1. Thickness of the pulp

    This is the most useful starting point, in many cases it’s enough. Scoop a bit of pulp with a teaspoon and check how thick it is. If it’s very thin (only a few milimeters) and peels very easily, the purple color is caused by the coconut being harvested very young. The coconut it’s completely safe to consume in this case. If the pulp is thick, chances are it’s spoiled.

  2. Consistency of the pulp

    A thin pulp with very soft consistency and an almost jelly-like texture confirms that the coconut is very young and safe to eat. Harder pulp tilts the balance to the coconut not being fresh.

  3. Smell

    Coconuts don’t have strong fragrance, so it’s better to take a sniff from very close range. If the smell is somewhat acrid/pungent or unusual, it’s best to throw it away.

  4. Pulp taste

    If the pulp has a very soft consistency but otherwise taste normally, it’s safe to eat. Like mentioned at point 1 and 2 it just means the coconut was picked very young.

  5. Juice/water taste

    Take just a small sip, spoiled coconut is very oviously different. If the taste is unusual/bad, rather sour than sweet, it’s definitely spoiled.

TL;DR A light purple coconut flesh color doesn’t necessarily mean it’s spoiled. It can also mean the coconut is very young, with under-developed pulp, and the five steps described above will help you identify which is which in 100% of the cases.