If you’re a big coconut water drinker, you may have noticed something funny going on with your coconut water… sometimes, it’s pink! I first came across this phenomenon after laying my hands on raw coconut water and have been wondering about it ever since. Today, I decided to do the research and find out what causes it, and if it’s still safe to drink…
What Causes Pink Coconut Water?
I first discovered pink coconut water after stashing a bottle of regular Rebel Kitchen coconut water* in my fridge for a few days, and came back to find that it had too reached a lovely pale pink colour. So, what causes this?
Coconut water turns pink due to a combination of the production process and natural maturity of the coconut water. Production has to be minimal for the living enzymes to remain in the water, so it’s likely that if your coconut water turns pink, it’s because it has been raw cold-pressed, or processed in a similar, very limited manner. No refining, no pasteurising, no treating. The coconut water must also come in a transparent bottle rather than a can or Tetra Pak for it to turn pink.
Is Pink Coconut Water Still Drinkable?
The second factor is the coconut’s maturity process. The more the coconut water turns pink, the more it has oxidised. This is true even for coconut water coming from the fruit itself, but if you find a coconut with pink flesh, it has gone past its best. So, is pink coconut water still drinkable? Yes!
So, Is Pink Coconut Water Better (Or Worse) Than Clear?
Looking purely at nutritional value, it appears that pink coconut water may be slightly higher in sugar content, but it also has a higher potassium content, which is usually the reason why coconut water is being consumed in the first place. Think of it like bananas – the more mature they get, the sweeter and blacker they are.
My best advice would be to drink pink coconut water as soon as you get it, so as to benefit from the higher potassium content but also to prevent it from oxidising further. It’s not to say that clear coconut water does not oxidise over time, but its pasteurisation process (or packaging) prevents it from being as pure and raw as possible, thus slowing the oxidisation process but also lowering the potassium value too.