Want to recreate that beach vacation feeling in the middle of Illinois? There's nothing like drinking fresh coconut water straight from the coconut itself. And yes, you can get fresh young coconuts right here in Champaign at Far East. Amazingly, you can get them all year round as well, although they do sell out fast when they arrive (Tuesdays and Fridays are the best days as that's when fresh produce arrives).

If you've never had fresh coconut water before, you're in for a treat. This drink is slightly sweet and just a little nutty. It's nothing like coconut "milk" and it really quenches your thirst instantly. In fact, it's hard to put down once you take your first sip.

A fresh young coconut costs just a little more than a soft drink and it's much better for you. Fresh coconut water is known to have abundant health benefits including the ability to boost your immune system. But don't confuse the hard-shelled coconuts you find in grocery stores with these fresh young ones (if it doesn't have a white outer husk, then it's not drinkable). And it tastes so much better than the canned stuff that you can get at health food stores (and they cost more, too).

Keep the coconuts cool in the refrigerator. When you're thirsty, take a meat cleaver and hack a hole in the coconut. Then stick a straw in and enjoy. Alternatively, you can use coconut water in fruit smoothie recipes and cocktails as well.

After drinking the water, crack the coconut with the meat cleaver and you can scoop out the soft tender coconut meat with a spoon for a tasty treat.