Coconut milk has been quickly growing in popularity as a dairy free alternative to cows milk. It has been used for centuries in curries and is now being seen more frequently in smoothies, hot drinks and as a vegan alternative to make creamy sauces. Unfortunately not all coconut milk is created equal, some you will find are significantly watered down, some have added emulsifiers and sweeteners and others can be stored in cans lined with BPA (Bisphenol A) which is a known endocrine disruptor, and has been linked with breast and prostate cancer, obesity, neurobehaviorial problems and birth abnormalities. It is important to make the distinction between coconut water and coconut milk. Coconut water is the liquid directly extracted from green coconuts, whereas coconut milk is made by taking the flesh of ripe coconuts, and combining with water to make a milk. It is possible to make coconut milk from dried coconut too, which can be a cheap alternative especially if you are able to buy in bulk and even better if you can purchase the dried coconut from whole food stores that avoid plastic packaging. After experimenting with different methods, we have come up with a recipe using dried coconut to make a quick and easy coconut milk at home that is smooth, tasty and affordable too! This is great if you have run out of coconut milk but have some dried coconut in the cupboard to whip up a quick batch of milk. If you like the recipe, you may feel like you no longer need to rely on store bought cans and the potential nasties that come with it. Of course fresh is always best, so if you have access to fresh coconut flesh, use this instead of the dried versions below. What you will need: (Makes approx 600mL Coconut Milk)

  • 1.5 cups of desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup of dried flaked coconut
  • 4 cups boiled water (allow to cool slightly so water is warm but not scalding)
  • Fine Sieve
  • Cheese cloth

Process:

  • Mix two different types of dried coconut together in a bowl.
  • Pour warm water over the coconut and stir through.
  • Allow coconut to sit in the water for 30 minutes to an hour.

  • Blend coconut and water mixture in a food processor for 2-5 minutes until it becomes thick and creamy.
  • Pour mixture through a sieve and allow the liquid to drip into a clean bowl.
  • Press excess coconut in the sieve with the back of a spoon to release more of the liquid.
  • Pour the remaining coconut into a cheese cloth and wring with your hands.
  • Pour coconut milk into a glass bottle and refrigerate.

Your coconut milk should keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. You may find that the coconut milk separates with the fat rising to the top. Just shake it up before use and it will be good as new. Quick note – Don’t throw out all the leftover coconut after the milk has been strained, this can be used for cooking other things! Coconut cookies, Coconut macaroons, imitation homemade bounty bars, etc. Enjoy!

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