I make my own coconut milk for several reasons:
- Store-bought coconut milk is packaged in either wasteful cans lined with plastic or hard-to-recycle and even more wasteful Tetra-Paks that contain plastic
- Many of these plastics contain BPA or a replacement that is just as harmful
- Store-bought often contains food-like and suspect ingredients
- Homemade contains only two ingredients, one of which comes from your tap
- Homemade costs little
- Homemade tastes good
- Homemade is easy
- Homemade makes me a rebel with an apron
The short version of how to make coconut milk
Combine 1 part coconut and 4 parts hot water in a blender, let sit for 10 minutes or so, whir, strain, enjoy.
If you feel more energetic, you can also make coconut milk from a whole coconut. My daughter posted that on her blog several years ago. I will probably never do this.
A few notes
- The organic coconut for the four cups of coconut milk I made in this post cost a whopping 84 cents. The water was free.
- I use a blender with a glass pitcher. As I mentioned above, plastic and food do not go well together (read about yet more recent studies that show this). I found my blender on Craigslist and paid very little for it—$10 I think, less that the sales tax on a new fancy blender with a plastic pitcher.
- You don’t need a nut milk bag to make nut milk. If you have a bowl, a sieve (which you’ll use for many tasks) and a thin cloth, you can save yourself some money.
Use and storage
- The fat will separate from the milk rather quickly. When this happens, just give the jar a shake. If you won’t use the coconut milk immediately, refrigerate it. Once chilled, the fat will harden into solid chunks. If you need a homogenous consistency for a recipe such as ice cream, melt the fat and add it back to the coconut milk.
- This will keep for four or five days in the refrigerator or a few months in the freezer.
- You can use this coconut milk in recipes that call for canned coconut milk. I made a coconut curry vegetable dish last night with half of the coconut milk pictured in this post. It tasted delicious!
- The pulp is quite dry at the end of the process. I didn’t have the oven on the day I made the milk for this post, so I simply spread the pulp out on a glass dish and covered that with a cloth. It dried within a couple of days.
- The pulp has had most of its fatty goodness stripped out but it still makes good filler for oatmeal, baked goods, veggie burgers, soup… You’ll find a use for it.
And now some pictures (lots of pictures…).
Homemade Coconut Milk from Dried Coconut
Yields approximately 4 cups
- 1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
- 4 cups hot water
1. Place coconut and hot water in a blender.
2. Let sit for about 10 minutes to soften up the shredded coconut.
3. Whir for a couple of minutes.
4. Place a cloth lined sieve over a large bowl. Pour mixture slowly into sieve.
5. Gather edges of cloth together and squeeze out as much milk as possible.
6. Pour coconut milk into glass jars or bottles and refrigerate for four five days. Separation of the milk from the fat is normal and happens quickly. Give the jar a shake to try to combine the two. If the fat has solidified and you need a homogenous consistency for a recipe such as ice cream, melt the fat and add it back to the coconut milk.
7. Use this in place of canned coconut in recipes.
8. Refrigerate, freeze or dehydrate pulp to use in other recipes such as oatmeal, granola, quick breads, pancakes and so on.