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I let coconuts intimidate me for way too long. I never thought I’d learn how to make coconut milk. And I mean fresh, homemade coconut milk. I enjoy the occasional almond joy or piece of coconut cake and once in a while we like to sip on fresh coconut water (Yes, with rum!), but coconut is a dessert… right?
That thinking is over. It took so little effort to make coconut milk. I will be doing this on a regular basis. The money saved over store bought doesn’t equate to much savings, but look at the ingredients on the back of the coconut milk can. This recipe has no shelf stabilizing preservatives or coloring and best of all, you can make a coconut bikini top when you’re done.
Not only was this the easiest technique for homemade coconut milk I have ever used, I can’t stress enough how good this coconut milk tastes. It’s much better than anything we’ve found canned. From this one coconut, we have used the coconut milk and the coconut flakes in three dinner recipes, eight smoothies, and ten toasty cocktails.
I was wrong when I said that the savings didn’t add up. It’s such a valuable addition to your kitchen, you should learn how to make coconut milk with our step-by-step guide. To make your own coconut milk you’ll need 1 brown coconut and 1-2 cups of filtered water.
One of our favorite dinner recipes we made using this coconut milk is our Caribbean Lobster Stuffed Pineapple Bowl.
[penci_button link=”https://culturestraveled.com/lobster-stuffed-pineapple-bowl/” icon=”” icon_position=”left” align=”center” background=”#00c0ce” target=”_blank”]Our Lobster Stuffed Pineapple Bowl Recipe[/penci_button]
How to break open a coconut
Over a large mixing bowl, in order to save the coconut water, whack the coconut at its equator with a heavy blunt object like a mallet or hammer. Rotate the coconut slightly and hit it again. It should take 2-8 hits to break open the coconut.
Unless you want a coconut bikini, make life easier for yourself and hit the coconut halves with your mallet perpendicular to the first breaks. You will have 3-4 pieces now.
Use a strong paring knife to work the edges where the coconut flesh connects to the shell. Pry/cut inward until all the flesh is freed.
How to Make Coconut Milk
Pour the coconut water into a blender or food processor. If needed, add filtered water until it measures 2 cups. Cut the coconut into manageable pieces for processing. There’s no need to worry about the brown that is still attached to the flesh. It will not affect the fresh coconut milk.
Pulse the coconut meat and coconut water until it becomes a thin flake size. Let rest in the processor for 15 minutes.
Place a double layer of cheesecloth in a mesh strainer and place it over a bowl. Transfer the coconut meat to the strainer and squeeze all the liquid from the coconut pulp. You now have 2 cups of the freshest unsweetened coconut milk.
What to do with coconut meat, now?
1. Make Coconut Freezer Bombs
In an ice cube tray, compress the pulp to fill each compartment and top with just enough water to absorb and freeze. You can add these coconut meat bombs to your smoothies for fiber. Or Defrost the coconut meat to use in baked goods.
2. Get Toasted: Toasted Coconut Flakes
Use homemade toasted coconut flakes to add a pleasant aromatic smell and look to some of your tropical themed dishes. Preheat oven to 325 F, thinly layer the coconut pulp on a baking sheet, place on the center rack for 5 minutes. Stir and return to oven for 3-5 minutes more. It goes from white to toasty quickly, so keep an eye on it. Store toasted coconut flakes in an airtight container.