Dear Cecil: Your astuteness and tenacity in searching out and serving up some fine answers to weirdo questions have led me to hope you will be able to illuminate for me a present puzzling mystery in my life. What’s the scoop on coconuts? Fresh coconuts. In particular, when are they in season and is there any way to judge which one to bring home? A really bad coconut is soooo yukky. But a really good coconut is so celestial. Thanks for your help and thanks for the great job you do in the quest for truth and straightness for the edification of us, your faithful readers. Carry on! Sadie, Chicago
(Note to the Teeming Millions: She wrote it all, I swear to God.)
There is no real season for coconuts, since they grow in tropical regions where there are no real seasons for anything. The most common cause of yukkiness is a crack in the shell, which (1) either admits enough air to dry out the fruit or (2) admits enough bacteria to precipitate the formation of a light gray mold between fruit and shell. Small, barely visible cracks are enough to cause trouble, so the best way to select a coconut is to pick one up and shake it. If you can hear the milk sloshing inside, odds are you’ve got a celestial coconut rather than a yukky one. Some yukky coconuts also slosh, but the coincident occurrence of yukkiness and sloshiness is extremely rare.
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