Food & Drink

What Makes Some Coconut Water Turn Pink?

coconut water
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Ever picked up a bottle of tropical hangover cure (aka coconut water) and marveled at its peculiar pink hue? "Hey," you might ask the deli's cashier, who, for the record, is completely over you. "If coconuts aren't pink, why is their juice?"

Well, my friend, he probably won't answer. But don't fret -- as luck would have it, we at Thrillist did some digging and, with the help of professional coconut water taste-tester/illustrious NYC bar owner Giuseppe Gonzalez of Suffolk Arms, we struck upon a very scientific answer.

When your coconut water turns pink, it means the coconut itself contained high levels of an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase. Polyphenols are a type of naturally occurring antioxidant, the same little buggers that make coconut water such a nutritious and delicious beverage. While all coconut water begins its life as a clear liquid, those with higher concentrations of polyphenols will turn pinkish the longer they’re exposed to oxygen and sunlight (i.e., the longer they're in the bottle). And, you guessed it, the ones that remain white or clear have lower levels of polyphenols.

Mystery, consider yourself solved.

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Meredith Heil is a staff writer for Thrillist. She sits back on Malayan islands, sipping mixed drinks out of broke coconut bowls -- she wildin.' Sober up with @mereditto.
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