The other day, my husband randomly wanted to buy a fresh coconut. Ooookaaay, but what the heck are we going to do with it? Based on my research online, it seems that most people either make homemade toasted coconut or coconut milk. I went with the coconut milk route because it’s a great excuse to use my handy dandy new blender.
Here are some easy tips on how to make homemade coconut milk using only 2 ingredients.
Homemade Coconut Milk Recipe
(Makes 16 ounces)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup fresh coconut meat, chopped (see directions)
- Figure out how to break open the coconut without hurting yourself. (My husband hacked at it with a large heavy knife with the coconut on the sidewalk. This gave it something to sit on while keeping coconut shell bits from getting everywhere in the house.)
- Take the flesh of the coconut out of the shell (a clean flat head screwdriver can serve this purpose).
- Cut the brown inner skin off (a potato peeler does a decent job at this or you can just carefully cut it off with a knife).
- Cut the coconut meat into chunks.
- In a blender, blend the water and coconut until it is the consistency of milk.
- Put a coffee filter into a tall cup and secure it to the top. (If you are using the short shallow kind of coffee filters you will probably need a rubber band to hold it in place. I used the standard #4 cone shaped filter and after folding it over the top of the cup it stayed in place on its own.)
- Slowly pour the blended coconut mixture into the coffee filter, a 1/2 cup at a time. (Note, I strongly recommend using a new coffee filter about every other pouring in order to prevent the filter from tearing or busting through the bottom.)
- Allow the coconut milk to drain.
- Discard the coconut pulp.
I made my husband in charge of cutting open the coconut since it was his idea to buy it in the first place. It wasn’t pretty. Pieces of coconut flew all over the kitchen until he decided he’d rather make a mess outside. (He really did decide that on his own.) There are many great tutorials online for how to disassemble a coconut, like the one from David Lebovitz. Good luck and may the force be with you, it really is quite a task.
It took my blender about 3 minutes to blend the ingredients, but it may take your blender longer so be patient.
Once all of the pieces of coconut are gone (you know, from all that blending), you will still have coconut “dust” in the liquid. Drain the coconut milk through a coffee filter to remove the fiber. (This step can actually be skipped if you want to keep the fiber. Filtering it definitely does make the milk more pleasant to drink for me though.) You can use the coconut milk right away or chill it. Note that over time, the coconut cream will rise to the top and naturally separate out from the milk. You simply need to shake it up prior to using it.
If you’ve never had it before, it tastes exactly as it sounds. It’s a yummy coconut flavored drink. You know what’s the best part about making coconut milk at home? It’s all natural and I can pronounce all of of the ingredients (you know, water and coconut, both pretty easy to say, and coconut is even kind of fun to say… coconut. 🙂 )
Here’s what I learned from this experiment:
- Cutting open and removing the shell from a fresh coconut is a pain in the butt.
- Making homemade coconut milk using a fresh coconut takes a LONG time. While there are relatively few steps to this recipe, it will test your patience. 😉
- For me, the key to making homemade coconut milk is the filtering process. Which is also a pain in the butt but at least has the advantage of being redo-able if your filter breaks. (Mine did, several times.)
- Like with most homemade products, it’s cheaper to make it at home than it is to by it pre-made. (Though not a lot in this case.)
- Coconut milk is a great dairy free alternative.
- Coconut milk is packed with all sorts of vitamins and antioxidants, but it’s high in saturated fat and thus whether it’s actually good for you or not is a topic of hot debate.
- Coconut milk can be used as an ingredient in smoothies, savory dishes (most commonly in Indian and Thai cuisine), desserts, you name it. You can also enjoy it as a chilled beverage. In that case, some people add sugar and other ingredients to it, but I found it delicious without any additions.
Have you ever worked with a fresh coconut? If yes, what did you make and how long did it take you to wrestle the meat out of the shell?
Here are some great recipes, using coconut.