It’s time to kick the canned processed junk, and go for real, home-made, rich and natural health-filled coconut milk! (I will try to get video of this process sometime – and while we often buy shreds to use, we’ll eventually show you how you can shred your own!)
Sorry to my dear friends who do not live in tropical islands where fresh coconuts abound. Sadly, this recipe may not be possible for you, or not so easily and cheaply. For us, it’s almost 100% free! Just the cost of water!
Fresh made coconut milk – something I NEVER thought I would like, as I could never stand the idea of coconut anything when I lived in Ohio. Mars Bars, Almond Joy, German chocolate cake… you name it. If it had “coconut” in it at all, shreds, oils, flavoring… I avoided it like the plague.
But, ahhhh, real, fresh coconut is sooo much different! And unbelievably versatile! It starts as a young coconut with nothing but sweet water inside. Then slowly, a thin layer starts to grow inside the coconut of fresh coconut flesh. It begins clear and with a texture of Jell-O. As our little coconut continues to grow, the flesh gets thicker, turning white. While it’s still soft, it is still deliciously sweet! As more time goes by, and the flesh gets thicker, it begins to harden, and finally begins to acquire more of that typical “coconut” flavor that most people know. The water inside starts to lessen, and takes on a strong flavor as well, losing its sweetness for the rich coconut oil flavor.
And while you can enjoy coconut at any point in this growth, it is when the coconut has hardened that you can shred it and make milk! It is a sweet, full, rich flavor, but not the same flavor that many people think of when they hear “coconut.”
You’ll need to gather a few things to do this…
- Drinking water (roughly 2 cups per coconut, depending how creamy or thin you prefer it)
- Coconut Shreds (1 coconut makes roughly 2 cups of milk. You can make your own shreds, or buy them from some local vendors or farmers)
- Tub for soaking shreds
- Bowl for placing dried shreds
- Strainer to strain the coconut milk
- Container to hold the coconut milk and store it
1. Take the shreds, and place them in a tub
2. Pour drinking water in, just to cover the shreds, and swish it around to make sure all shreds are wet
3. Let it soak for about 5 minutes, allowing the flavor to infuse into the water.
4. Begin squeezing out the shreds, so the milk remains in the tub. Then place the dried shreds in another bowl (They are no longer needed for this recipe, and really have little flavor let – you can pitch them, or just mix them in to other recipes, such as smoothies, salads, or stir-fry as an extra boost of fiber) NOTE: The harder you squeeze, the more oils you will release from the shreds, leading to a creamier yet more “coconut-y” flavored milk. If you prefer the sweeter hints instead of the strong coconut flavor, don’t squeeze as hard.
5. Once you’ve removed as much of the shreds as you can by hand, simply pour through the strainer in to the container you plan to store the milk. This will help strain out the last bits of debris (as there are ALWAYS bits of the brown husk accidentally shredded in with the white flesh!)
6. Then enjoy your coconut milk fresh and creamy!
A note about the milk and storing it….
Coconut milk will go bad FAST! Within about 24 hours, if not less, it will start to sour. So, sadly, this is not something to make in bulk amounts.
When coconut milk is fresh, it will be homogenized – or all one consistency. However, once you let it sit and cool (especially in the fridge) the fats and water will start to separate. This can be a good thing! Some of the cream will float to the top, and if you want a lower-fat coconut milk, you can skim this off and drink the remaining milk! It may have a milder flavor, as that creamy fatty part has the stronger coconut taste, but it is still sweet and rich.
So enjoy your coconut milk while you can!
Use it in cereal, cook your brown rice in it, add it to smoothies, or just have a nice glass of it while you sit and read your email messages!