How to do it, Kitchen Fun
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Easier homemade organic coconut milk

Fresh-made coconut milk

Have you tried making your own coconut milk yet? It’s amazingly easy to do, has just two ingredients, and takes fifteen minutes or less.

The first time I made coconut milk, I followed a recipe a gracious foodie blogger had shared. What a difference over canned coconut milk! Good stuff. Just as I was ready to give that recipe another go, this one from Whole New Mom (WNM) popped up in my feed: Easiest Coconut Milk Recipe.

My first glass of homemade coconut milk

My first glass of homemade coconut milk

WNM’s version caught my eye because she omits scalding the water. Pouring scalding water unnerves me a bit. Does it you?

Plus, a little twist in her method nearly eliminated that big fist-full of mash I had leftover last time.

Full disclosure: I’d have had half the mash if I’d researched a little to learn that coconut flakes, as my package label identifies them, and coconut chips, as the recipe called for, are the same. Still, even half is a lot of mash.

So I gave WNM’s method a go, and it’s a keeper.

The recipe

Homemade Organic Coconut Milk from Dried Coconut Flakes

It takes almost longer to read the recipe than it does to make the milk. Here’s how.

Time and such
Nearly a litre of homemade coconut milk, made with just 1 cup of flakes and filtered water

Nearly a liter of homemade coconut milk, made with just 1 cup of flakes and filtered water

  • Yield: 5 cups
  • Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
  • 1 C Organic dried coconut flakes (also called chips), packed somewhat firmly, but not squeezed into the cup
  • Filtered water to make 5 cups
Directions
  1. Process the flakes in a coffee grinder until finely ground, about 15 seconds. A typical coffee mill can do about one-half cup at a time.
  2. Pour ground flakes into blender and add one cup unheated, filtered water. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes, depending on how powerful your blender is.
  3. Add enough water to make five cups and blend on high 3-5 minutes.
  4. Unless you have a blender powerful enough to completely liquefy the coconut, pour through a cheesecloth-lined sieve and let drain a few minutes. Twist the cheesecloth around the mash to squeeze out any extra moisture.

Refrigerate the milk in sealed containers. Use within 3-4 days. If you can’t use that much that fast, freeze what you can’t use. Most of my recipes call for either half or a whole cup of coconut milk, so I freeze it in one-cup, straight-sided Le Parfait jars.

Tip: If you freeze in glass jars, leave half an inch head-room for expansion. If the jar has a shoulder, leave the half-inch below the shoulder.

See how this method works

This slide show takes you through this easy process almost as fast as you can make the milk.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This milk tastes good! It’s not too oily, and I end up with a much smaller ball of mash than I did the first time I made it, even accounting for my mistake. This time I ended up with about 1/4 cup of loosely packed coconut mash.

What to do with the mash?

Dehydrated and finely ground coconut milk mash

Dehydrated and finely ground coconut milk mash

In my first coconut milk experiment, I dried the mash in the oven, using the oven light for warmth, then ground it in my coffee grinder for flour.

Later that week, I used that flour in place of some of the whole wheat flour in homemade scones. They turned out lovely, tasting faintly of coconut. Delicious in fact!

But there’s another way to use the mash.

Make more coconut milk

Somewhere along the line, I read that coconut milk mash can be reused two more times, each time making a less-rich milk, each of which have their uses in traditional (think Thai, Indian) cooking. I’m still hunting down that article; I’ll post a link here when I find it.

So I put my mash back into the blender, added a cup of water and whooshed it on high for three minutes. What came out: A slightly thinner, paler milk, with completely discernible, but less-pronounced coconut flavor.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now, what to do with all this coconut milk?

The first batch was already jarred and chilling in the freezer, which was jam-packed full. What to do with this extra milk? Mm-hmm. Can you see the light bulbs going off?

This time, I didn’t strain it. I had an idea. Two of them, actually: Smoothie and ice cream.

Our first coconut milk smoothie may be our newest addiction

Turns out, unstrained coconut milk is wonderful in smoothies. This one has about a cup and a half of leftover frozen yogurt (which I took from the freezer to make room for the jars of coconut milk), a cup each of organic frozen blueberries and strawberries, one whole avocado, peeled and pitted, and 1-1/2 cups of the fresh-made coconut milk. Incredibly smooth and delicious!

Boy, are the grand-girls going to like this.

I used a cup and a half of the fresh coconut milk to make this berry smoothie

I used a cup and a half of the fresh coconut milk to make this berry smoothie

The ice cream? Let’s call it Frozen Chocolate Coconut Delight Chocolate Pecan Coconut Ice Cream. I stirred up a batch just before I sat down to write this. It’s chilling now. I’ll come back and let you know how it turns out.

Our first coconut ice cream, not so much

(Update August 23, 2015)

When I took the chilled slurry from the fridge, I found a layer of coconut oil on top. No amount of whisking, stirring or beating helped to emulsify that oil. I ended up with a frothy bunch of goo on top, with thin, chocolaty liquid below.

No amount of whisking could incorporate this layer of frothy coconut oil into the slurry

No amount of whisking could incorporate this layer of frothy coconut oil into the slurry

Knowing I may be in for a disappointment, I turned on the ice cream maker and poured in the slurry. Normally, I get ice cream within twenty minutes. This time, twenty minutes passed, then thirty. Finally, forty minutes after starting I had a relatively frozen dessert. I added chopped pecans, gave it a few more minutes and dished it up.

Chocolate pecan coconut ice cream

Chocolate pecan coconut ice cream

As ice cream goes, the richness is totally lacking. We decided that this slurry would make perfectly acceptable fudge sickles, though. In fact, it tasted just as we remembered one of our shared favorite childhood treats.

Sure, I could try this again with the richest, first press of coconut milk, but given the calories, I am unlikely to substitute it for cream when I make ice cream, unless my vegan wannabe goes all the way. Then I’ll fiddle with it more.

Your turn

What would you do with the coconut mash? Dry it and use it for flour? Use it in smoothies? How about cookies?

What about the coconut milk? One cup of flakes makes a lot of milk. Would you use it in homemade coconut milk “ice cream”? Or how about Thai food? We love Thai, but I have never attempted to cook it myself. Have you?

If you have a good Thai recipe, or any favorite recipe using coconut milk, I invite you to share it in the comments section.

9 Comments

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  4. Sharon L. Grace says

    Of course, I totally enjoy the smoothie and chocolate dessert. Also, I love the thinner coconut milk in my morning coffee. Less the oily fat, it’s delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s as easy as it sounds, Barbara. I haven’t tried grinding the coconut in my food processor; I don’t know if it would grind fine enough. Next time I make coconut milk, I’ll try the food processor first and see what happens. Then I’ll update this page.

      It will be awhile, as I still have plenty in the freezer. Stay tuned!

      Like

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