Homemade Coconut Milk Tutorial

Jan 21, 2011 by

I started the Oil Cleansing Method because of Liz at CaveGirlEats swore it changed her skin. Three weeks later, I have to say my skin literally glows. After an initial purging period of a few breakouts, my pores are shrinking, my dry patches gone, my oily T-zone even, and the redness calmed. After a few tweaks with the oil ratios, I finally found my balance and I can honestly say I will never go back to putting any chemicals on my face.

Anyway, the point is this: I basically do whatever she tells me. Or I respect her opinion. Or something. So when she said she made her own coconut milk this week I made sure I picked up a coconut in the store. The whole process seemed like such a pain the arse, so I never wanted to try it. And although I’m Queen of Homemade Stock and All Things From Scratch, the rate of return on coconut milk never seemed worth the work. But she made it seem easy and I thought the kids would enjoy the process.

Plus, as I’ve been reading Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, I’ve been more interested in creating my own milks, creams, and butters from natural sources and finding it a lot easier than I thought.

It honestly wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. The worst part was getting the rind (not the shell which just comes off pretty easy) off the coconut. I finally figured out that my heavy duty vegetable peeler did the trick and finished pretty quick at that point. The finished product is rich and delicious and I’m thinking about it right now, despite just having it in my vanilla tea. From one medium-sized coconut ($1.99), I got this large jar, about 3 cans worth.

Homemade coconut milk. I could drink this with a straw.

In the recipe in Nourishing Traditions, she uses 2 coconuts to get 1 1/2 cups of milk, obviously a much denser and thicker milk.

I’m not sure I’m going to stop buying the canned stuff because sometimes the rate of return just isn’t worth the extra $1.99 but I do think it’s important to know where our products come from and learn how to make them and I’m glad I did it.

I did use quite a bit of water because I plan on using it in my tea and smoothies. If you want it thicker, use less. Here’s how you do it if you’re interested:

1) If you buy a pre-scored coconut (most in the store are “easy-crack”) you can just hit it with a kitchen mallet and it will open. Make sure you have a dish under to catch the coconut water. Don’t throw it away – its nutritional benefits are endless. Save it to drink or add back in to the coconut milk later.

2) If you do not have a pre-scored one, simply put the whole coconut in an oven-safe dish and stick in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes. Most of the time it will crack open for you in the oven.

3) Let cool and peel off the shell.

At this point you’re left with the coconut with the hard outer brown skin. It is easiest to remove by using a vegetable peeler.

4) Put the clean pieces of coconut into a blender.

5) Cover with warm, filtered water, about an inch or two over the top.

6) Blend on high for 3-4 minutes.

7) Strain through cheesecloth, squeezing out the milk, leaving behind the pulp. You can dehydrate the pulp for coconut flour, stir in some lard and freeze to make dog treats, dry out and add to your grain-free granola, etc.

8) Store in a closed jar in the fridge. Shake before use as the fat will separate.

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  1. Very cool! Great activity to do with kids. We’ll have to try it.

  2. Lisa

    Yup, sounds like fun. I’ll try it with the kids. I am looking forward to tasting the coconut water as well. I’ve heard it’s good.. and a break from the endless quantities of water I drink would be welcome. Never seen it in a store in my neck of the woods though.

    How are you feeling?

  3. Lynn

    Sounds cool. Have TOTALLY gone crazy over coconut milk! Hope you are recovering well.

  4. Well, since I basically do whatever YOU tell me, I guess I’m getting the benefit of Liz as well :)

  5. Are you going to be weaving your own wool next week?

    Just kidding – that looks fantastic! And, not something I would’ve considered doing without you telling me. I’m also adding Cave Girl Eats to my reader, she sounds pretty cool.

  6. Awesome! I bought a coconut last week for 69p (about $1) as a snack (I like the meat). It was near impossible for me or my husband to open, so we used a rock (we don’t have a hammer, don’t ask) outside and made sure to get the water on the inside. I drank up the water (love the stuff) and cut up the rest to gnaw on for the week. I was curious how to turn it into milk… and now I know! I will certainly try this :) Your posts are always so relevant!

  7. Melissa

    I love making my own milks, just made cashew milk and found a video on how to make hemp milk and coconut was next on my list! Yummers.

  8. Liz

    All right my friend, now seems like a good time to tell you that I’m a total fraud. I don’t even really write that blog; I got Lauren Conrad to ghost-write for me. Next up is a budget line of Cave Girl loincloths at Kohl’s.

    Last night, (because I follow your blog around like a virtual puppy), I did a literal mash-up of your latkes and your hash. It looked ugly but tasted delicious. CGE shout-out is forthcoming!

  9. I do whatever Liz tells me too :)

  10. Laurie

    Yum! We made this yesterday and with your tips it was EASY and fun and of course Delicious! Used the coconut milk in a red curry dish with chicken, eggplant and kale. It was seriously so good… Thanks for your recipes and tutorials. They help to keep me inspired as I adopt the primal lifestyle.

  11. JQBancroft

    How often do you do the oil cleansing method? I haven’t used a chemical face wash (or any, for that matter) since starting primal. The let it be method worked great for summer, but now that winter has come I feel I need to do something else. Every site I encountered was really vague about how often to oil cleanse!

    • AndreAnna

      I do it every night but sometimes skip a night here and there if I didn’t wear any makeup that day.

      I also always put jojoba oil all over my body and face as soon as I turn off the shower and massage it in while I’m still wet. It really helps lock in the moisture.

      Since you’re coming from a place of no cleansers as it is, I would start with every other night using the OCM (unless you wear makeup) and using the jojoba after your shower (or morning face wash with water).

      Hope this helps!!

  12. Ooooo, I love the look of the pretty coconut pieces in the blender!

  13. I was talking with an Indian guy here at work about coconut milk. He told me “Don’t buy the canned coconut milk. You can make it at home. It is so much better than the canned stuff.” He then proceeded to tell me how to make it.

    I’m stopping my the Indian grocery on my way home tonight to pickup the supplies to make a real curry, including homemade coconut milk.

    Thanks for the delicious recipes and cool information.

  14. Eric

    I live in Atlanta and I have scoured everywhere in search of coconuts that are worthwhile. The ones at Publix are 99% of the time old and have adopted more of a soap taste than true coconut. I first realized this after going to Jamaica and having some from there. Eating the coconut there was literally a life changing experience. Florida has some good bastions of coconuts as well, and I have found that the small stores that actually refrigerate the coconuts (husked, not talking about the young green ones) end up vastly superior.

    I plan on talking to the people at Publix and seeing if I can get them to change the way they treat and deal with coconut distribution, but the sad reality is I think most people don’t have a clue how different a fresher vs standard coconut can be.

  15. This looks sooo good! Do you know how long it will keep in the fridge?

    • AndreAnna

      Because of its high fat content, I would gather about a week, but I bet it won’t last that long! :)

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