I always wanted to live out in the country, but life got in the way and the closest I’ve come is growing herbs in pots and a colorful flower garden. In my imaginary country life I had chickens—for the eggs not the meat. While I’m not a vegetarian, I don’t think I could kill one of the chickens I raised.
I always wanted a cow too—for the milk, not the beef. From the milk I’d make my own butter, cheese and yogurt. As strange as it sounds, milking a cow was always on my bucket list. Then I began questioning if we could use all the milk our cow produced, and I started thinking goats. They are smaller and I could still make my cheese and yogurt.
But then I got cancer for the third time, and I started re-thinking my diet. While I never ate junk food and avoided processed food, I did eat a lot of dairy, and lately I’ve been reading some not too reassuring things about the dairy we eat and drink. Organic is better, but I keep hearing humans are not really supposed to drink cow’s milk.
Since I love milk, I started looking for an alternative, which led me to almonds milk and coconut milk. I liked the coconut milk for smoothies and my coffee, but it was too sweet to drink straight. The almond milk tasted better by the glass, yet I would rather eat my almonds. Plus, they were still processed, and some of the ingredients on their labels I couldn’t pronounce.
The next logical step—making my own coconut milk. My first impulse was to use a fresh coconut. I gave up that idea after purchasing several coconuts that proved to be spoiled—despite the fact they still had water inside and there were no noticeable cracks. Spoiled coconut is nasty—so I shifted gears.
I found a recipe using organic shaved coconut. One recipe makes about four cups and may start spoiling after day four. So far, that hasn’t been an issue—it tends to be gone in a couple days. I have to admit—I am hooked!
My mother asked me why I go to all the trouble to make homemade coconut milk. She says it looks like a lot of work. I’m currently making it about every three days and it doesn’t seem like a lot of work to me. It’s impossible to get the taste of homemade coconut milk from any carton–and as I said, I’m hooked. Homemade coconut tastes more like cow’s milk, with a hint of coconut. With carton coconut milk, I find it overly sweet with a strong coconut flavor. The aroma of freshly made, warm coconut milk reminds me of warm cow’s milk.
The ingredients for one batch are simple—1 ½ cups shaved coconut and 4 cups of hot water—almost boiling. You will also need a blender, strainer, cheese cloth, pitcher or bowl and something to store your milk in. I use a canning jar. You’ll also need a cookie sheet if you intend to turn your pulp into coconut flour. No reason to toss it out!
Begin by heating your water on the stove. Use good drinking water–not soft water. Bring the water almost to boiling.
Pour 4 cups of your heated water into a blender with 1 1/2 cups shaved organic coconut.
Put the lid on the blender–but before you turn it on, cover it with a heavy kitchen towel and hold down the lid. With all that piping hot water, the blender can fly open and spread hot water and coconut all over your kitchen. Run the blender for about two minutes.
Place a strainer over a bowl or pitcher and cover with a cheese cloth.
Pour the milk into the strainer to separate the pulp from the milk.
Squeeze the pulp in the cheesecloth to remove all your milk. It may be hot from the water, so you will probably need it to cool down a bit so you don’t burn yourself.
Pour the milk into a jar. Keep in the refrigerator and use within four days. After the milk gets cold, the coconut oil in the milk will harden and form a layer on the top of the jar. Sometimes I simply shake the jar before using, or I empty the jar in the blender and blend for about a minute, before pouring back into the jar. My daughter tried making homemade coconut milk, but she did not like the consistency after it hardened the next day. I personally don’t have a problem with it.
Pour your pulp on a cookie sheet and spread out to dehydrate. I typically put it in the oven for 4 hours on the warming option (170 degrees). To made flour, put the dried pulp in a food processor.
Now I am wondering….can I make coconut cheese and yogurt??