A lot of our recipes call for coconut milk, and we prefer to make our own. Store-bought coconut milk in cans is NOT natural. When we lived in the Philippines, we made our own coconut milk from fresh coconuts. Fresh-squeezed coconut milk has a very short shelf life, and whatever is not used immediately will only last a couple of days in the refrigerator. This natural coconut milk will separate very quickly, with the heavier water falling to the bottom and the coconut cream remaining on top.
Coconut milks sold in cans, however, all have some kind of additives and stabilizers in them to stop them from separating like the natural coconut milk does. This could include ingredients like soy lecithin, which some people could have allergies to. Because the amount in the product is so small, the manufacturers may not be required to list it on the can. Since we try to make our recipes as natural and healthy as possible, we prefer this homemade coconut milk recipe which has no additives or stabilizers. It is made with dried coconut (unsweetened) because, unless you live in the tropics where coconuts grow, I don’t recommend purchasing fresh coconuts in the stores as they have a very short shelf life and are either moldy or have been irradiated to keep them shelf stable.
Homemade Coconut Milk
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 7/8 cup dry unsweetened coconut
In a medium-size kettle, heat the water but do not bring it to a boil.
Place the coconut in a blender and add 1 cup of the hot water.
Blend for 2–3 minutes.
Place a colander in a bowl and line the colander with 4 thicknesses of cheesecloth.
Pour the blended coconut mixture into the cheesecloth and twist to extract the milk, letting the milk go into the bowl.
Return the coconut pulp to the blender and add the remaining 1/2 cup of hot water. Blend for 1–2 minutes, strain, and press through the cheesecloth into the bowl.
Makes about 1 cup
Posted by Sarah Shilhavy