So many of you enjoyed learning how to make the Almond Milk and Almond Flour that I posted a couple weeks ago, that I thought I would come back to show you how to make Coconut Milk and Coconut Flour (spoiler alert: It’s just as easy and is done the exact same way!).
First question I get asked a lot: Why make your own when you can buy it at the store? My answer is that yes, of course you can buy it at the store, and it’s a great option for those that can’t or don’t want to drink cow’s milk and especially if you don’t have time to make your own alternative. But if you can make your own, you lose all the additives that you may not want to consume. Here is a list of all the ingredients listed in the coconut milk I had been buying for long time. There’s stuff in there I don’t know anything about and there’s a lot of added sugar. Of course, you can add sweeteners like honey or dates or stevia and flavors like vanilla to your own, but YOU get to control how much and again, you still don’t have the additives of commercially produced coconut milk that make it shelf stable for weeks or months.
Second most popular question: Does it save money? I believe the answer is similar to the almond milk. It’s not necessarily cheaper, though it costs about the same but if you also make the coconut flour, then yes it saves a ton. Coconut flour is spensy! Like $14/lb at my grocery store. It’s a great gluten-free, wheat-free alternative to flour in baking though it is expensive If you make your own coconut milk, it’s so easy to go one step further and convert the pulp to flour that would have been tossed anyway.
So that’s why I like to make my own! But I also have (make?) the time to do it because it’s important to me and I don’t drink so much of it that I am constantly running out. Here’s how I do it!
I just went out the regular grocery store and bought a package of unsweetened (organic if you can) shredded coconut – this is the kind I bought. You can also use coconut flakes that aren’t as fine a texture – both work. An 8oz package yields 2 cups of shredded coconut, perfect for this recipe.
There are two different ways to incorporate the water before blending in a blender:
- You can soak the coconut for about 2 hours to let it soften up, or
- You can boil the water and immediately blend it up to make your milk.
The first option is best if you’re on a raw food diet, but takes more preparation. The second option is quick, but you have to be careful when squeezing the moisture out as it may burn your hands. I’ll talk about how to keep your hands safe in a second.
It’s really as easy as putting the coconut and water in a blender and blending on high for 3-5 minutes until you get a creamy consistency like above. Don’t worry about it being perfectly smooth, we just want it well blended.
I highly recommend buying a nut milk bag for this or the almond milk. Cheese cloth will work, but it doesn’t strain as well (you’ll have sediment at the bottom of your milk) and it doesn’t hold up as well. It’s also a lot harder to get clean and remove all traces of the nut. I bought mine here (bonus: this company sends you a handwritten thank you note for ordering. How nice is that?) and for $8, I think it’s a steal considering how often it gets used.
DIY Coconut Milk
Ingredients and Equipment
- 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut flakes
- 4 cups water
- nut milk bag, cheese cloth or clean dish towel
- Option 1 (soaking method):
- Soak coconut in water for 2 hours, then blend on high to smooth consistency (about 3-5 minutes).
- Once coconut and water is blended, pour in to nut milk bag or over cheese cloth (I’ve heard a clean dish towel will work too, haven’t tried it though).
- Squeeeeeeeeze! Get as much moisture out as possible so you get more milk and so the pulp doesn’t take as long to dry out to make flour.
- Option 2: (boiled water method)
- Bring 4 cups water to a boil, then pour in to blender with coconut, blending on high to smooth consistency (about 3-5 minutes).
- Once coconut and water is blended, allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Pour mixture through nut milk bag or cheese cloth mixture (see above note).
- Squeeeeeeeeze! If it’s still too hot, place the bag in a bowl and pop in the freezer for a few minutes. Once it’s cooled enough, come back and squeeze as much moisture out as possible.
*Also worth noting, just like with the almond milk, this makes great coffee creamer if you add less water to make it thick and creamy. Flavors can also be added (pumpkin spice in the fall anyone?!).
THIS IS THE PART WHERE YOU DO NOT THROW AWAY THE LEFTOVER PULP! Save it, because now you can make coconut flour with it:
Ingredients and Equipment
- The pulp left over from making the coconut milk above.
- baking sheet (do not use cooking spray – parchment paper is fine)
- food processor
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
- Pour out coconut pulp mixture on to baking sheet and break up any big chunks with a fork. Spread as thin and even a layer as possible.
- Place in oven and bake for about 45 mins. You’ll be able to tell if it’s ready by touching it. Do you feel any moisture? Keep it in the oven for a few more minutes until it’s completely dry.
- Place in food processor and blend on high for 1-2 minutes until finely ground.