A step-by-step illustrated guide to getting your hands on your coconuts.

Tall Coconut

Coconut water is the best remedy for the haze and heat we are struggling with this Sha’aban, as any Mat Salleh can tell you. When your coconuts are within easy reach, all is well.  But they shoot up fast and before long they are far over head. How to solve this problem that so many of us face? I present a step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Plant some bamboo, or buluh. Most any commercial variety will do. I planted the “Bali bamboo” that has become popular in Kuching since the Airport Roundabout project a few years back.

Plant some buluh

Step 2: Wait two years. I admit this step is somewhat unsatisfactory,but bamboo only grows as fast as bamboo grows.

Step 3: Harvest a suitably long cane.

Tall Buluh

Step 4: Strip off the branches and sheaths and cut to the desired length. Careful here – bamboo has tiny fiberglass-like hairs at the base of each joint that can be very itchy and irritating to the skin. (I hoped these were called bulu buluh, but no, they are miang buluh.) I rubbed the hairs off the cane with some sandpaper. That way you inhale the tiny hairs rather than get them on your skin.  This step may need some refinement.

itchy bamboo hairs

Step 5: Obtain a sickle blade and a rubber strap.  If, like me, your hardware store does not have a rubber strap aisle, one can be prepared by slicing open a bicycle inner tube.

pengait kelapa

Step 6: Affix the sickle to the end of your bamboo with the rubber strap. You are now ready to harvest!

Harvest top

Step 7:  Don’t stand directly under the tree, or the coconut will repay your violence.

harvest bottom


Got your nuts in hand but unsure what to do next?  Many useful tips here.

I am eternally thankful to PakAnjang Siput for teaching me what I know about coconuts (even if his ayam laga nearly maimed two of my children).

Published by bingregory

Official organ of an American Muslim in Malaysian Borneo, featuring plants, pantuns and pictures from the Malay archipelago. Oversharing since 2002.

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  1. FYI, step 5 can be made a bit easier. They sell a kind of sickle/scissor contraption that’s made to go on a pole. My mother in law uses it to cut down mangoes off her tree. I think it would work just as well for coconuts. It’s got a long rope you pull so can cut stuff waaaay high up.

    Anyway, I prefer other people’s coconuts, as I lack coconut trees. Pre-cut and ready to drink. Just RM4.50 at The Spring’s food court. 🙂

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