Coconut Milk

Last week I made coconut milk. Before starting my No Trash Project, I would pretty regularly buy cans of coconut milk to use in many favorite Indian and Thai recipes. Since I stopped buying foods in packaging, I have been adapting recipes that call for coconut milk, by either adding shredded coconut, or some other homemade nut milk. For some reason, it didn’t occur to me until recently that I could just make my own. After reading over a few different recipes online, I went to the grocery store and picked up two coconuts. My friend cracked them open and helped me remove the meat from the shells. I diced the meat into small pieces, placed them in a large bowl, added 4 cups of water and blended until smooth. Then I strained the solids from the milk. Voila. Delicious, fresh, and package-free.

The the milk was a little on the thin side and I had some trouble with separation in the bottle shown above. I ended up pouring the milk back into a bowl so that I could hit it again with my immersion blender before each use.

I came across several coconut milk recipes that call for shredded coconut, which I can get in bulk at nearby food co-ops. I think I’ll try to make it that way next time to see if my result is any different. Buying the shredded coconut would certainly save a little time and labor, but may cost a bit more.

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3 Responses to Coconut Milk

  1. David Millar April 17, 2013 at 4:18 am #

    Hey there. Just stumbled upon your blog and saw this mention about coconut milk and how you plan to try shredding coconut by hand as well. I’ve also seen the outer fibers of the coconut dried, bundled, and sold as seed-starting material for gardening. I’m guessing you already compost it, but if you’re able, shredding it and using it as a mulch layer or seedling-starter might be a faster way to put it to use.

    • Colleen April 29, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

      Hi David. Thanks for the suggestion. Yes, I’ve seen coir products sold as planter liners, seed starting material, and even as bedding for vermiculture operations. It seems like a very versatile fiber. I like to use the halved coconut shells as containers to grow small plants :)

  2. LoveBaliBlossoms September 7, 2016 at 2:39 am #

    Many years ago, about when this article was penned, i learned how to make raw virgin coconut oil from an elderly Indonesian man in a small village.

    The first step in the process is hand grating the kernel of the coconut and making coconut milk. It is a time consuming job, but given the correct mental approach, every bit as rewarding as growing vegetables or cooking for people you care about.

    Time is not the enemy, and hand processing what we eat can be every bit as enjoyable as the eating itself. As with many things in life, it’s merely a small, invisible switch we can conciously flick on to determine what’s deemed enjoyable.


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