Homemade Coconut Milk

Time and time again one of the most popular recipes I demonstrate in my wholefood workshops is how to make homemade coconut milk (or other varieties of nut milk). And time after time people are amazed at just how simple (and cheap) it really is to make. Provided you have good quality organic shredded coconut, water, a blender and muslin or cheese cloth, you can make delicious coconut milk for a fraction of the cost of buying it from the grocery store.

Coconut milk is absolutely delicious in fruit smoothies, poured over granola for brekkie, used in savoury Thai, Vietnamese or Indian dishes, or simply consumed straight from the bottle. It is a great alternative to dairy milk for those with lactose or casein intolerances and can even be used for those home kefir producers out there to make delicious coconut kefir.

But why go to the effort of making your own when you can buy it already made in the store, I hear you ask? Well here are the sums:

Store brought coconut milk retails for between $4.20 – $5.00 per litre (depending on the brand and retailer) whilst homemade coconut milk will cost you around $1.50 per litre using organic shredded coconut sourced from Flame Tree Community Food Co-op ($7.00 per kg). That’s a saving of up to $4.00 per litre, for a tastier and healthier version than those pre-prepared coconut milk options in the long life packets. Win, win.

Still not convinced? Check out how simple the process of making homemade coconut milk is and give it a go. It won’t take you long to realise you can make delicious tasting coconut milk from only 2 ingredients (1 of which is water) for cheaper than you can buy milk at the grocery store.

Yields: 1 litre

Ingredients:

1.5-2 cups (200 grams) of organic shredded coconut (the more, the creamier)

1 litre of water (filtered if possible)

Method:

  1. Put coconut in high speed blender or vitamix and add water.
  2. Blend on the highest speed for 3-5 minutes until the coconut is broken down and the liquid is thick and creamy. If you are using a vitamix this will take a fraction of the time.
  3. Place a muslin cloth or cheesecloth (or tea towel if you don’t have either) over a mesh colander, on top of a large bowl (large enough to catch up to 1.5 litres of liquid) and pour mixture through the cloth.
  4. Let the mixture drain through to the bowl, and when the flow stops, squeeze the remaining liquid through the cloth by hand.
    Some people like to add flavouring to the milk at this stage, but I prefer mine plain. Flavour options include ½ tsp vanilla extract; 2 tsp cocoa powder + vanilla; 1 tsp honey; or 1 tsp cinnamon. Options are only limited by imagination.
  5. Drink immediately or store in the fridge in a glass bottle with airtight lid for up to 4 days.

Keep in mind, as there are no preservatives or ‘fillers’ added to the milk, it will separate into two distinct layers of ‘cream’ and ‘water’ once rested. Simply shake or stir before you are ready to consume and it will blend back nicely into a creamy milk.

Note: The same process can be used to make homemade almond milk, with just one extra step included. Prior to blending the almonds and water, you need to soak the almonds overnight in water (enough to cover the almonds by an inch or so). The next morning, drain and rinse well, before applying the same process outlined above. 1 cup of activated almonds to 2 to-3 cups of water will yield lovely thick, creamy almond milk.

Another side note: For those that hate to see perfectly good coconut and almond pulp go to waste, use the leftover pulp in biscuits, muffins or raw balls as a substitute for fine desiccated coconut or almond meal.

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