Save money and make fewer trips to the grocery store with this easy coconut milk recipe. It's easy to make and you get a bonus byproduct…. free coconut flour! If you use coconut milk or coconut flour you'll be happy to learn this simple trick.
I like to use coconut milk in my smoothies and Coconut Caramel Homemade Coffee Creamer recipe. Unfortunately I hate buying it at the store. Commercially produced, organic coconut milk costs around $2.00-4.00 for 32 ounces (or 4 cups). It also contains additives to make it last longer in a retail setting. These additives are often:
- Carrageenan – A gel made by processing seaweed, it thickens and emulsifies products. The fact that it comes from seaweed is not concerning (seaweed is good for you), the problem lies in how heavily it is processed to get to the food additive stage. You can read more at ChrisKresser.com.
- Gellan Gum – A vegan/vegetarian gelling or bulking agent made by fermenting carbohydrates in algae. It is then processed into a white powder, you can read about the whole process at Modernist Cooking.
- Sea Salt – No big reveal here, I simply try to avoid added salt whenever possible.
So now that you know what's lurking in the container of store-bought milk you probably wonder how hard it is to make your own. Luckily, homemade coconut milk is easy to prepare and has no preservatives or additives.
Coconut Milk Ingredients
- Unsweetened shredded coconut (I use Bob’s Red Mill organic coconut flakes)
How to Make Coconut Milk
1. Combine 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut and 4 cups hot water (nearly boiling) in a large Mason jar or blender. I use a Mason jar and then I store my milk in it…. it's also easy to blend in a Mason jar with my easy blender trick.
3. Blend the coconut and water until the flakes are pureed. You can blend immediately, but for best results you should soak for at least 20 minutes. The longer the flakes soak the “richer” the milk produced. I usually fill the jar with hot tap water and then put it in the fridge overnight and blend in the morning.
3. Strain the milk through a colander lined with cheesecloth or a clean flour sac towel (the towel should be washed without scented laundry detergent or fabric softener). Squeeze and press on the towel to get the most water possible out of the puree.
You now have coconut milk! Store in the refrigerator and use within 5 days.
*Since there are no preservatives or emulsifiers added to your milk you might see the fat rising to the top of your container, simple stir or shake it to re-combine. I sometimes skim this fat layer off to use in my curry recipes.
How to Make Coconut Flour
1. Place the puree on a parchment lined baking sheet. spread it into a thin, even layer.
2. Bake at 200° F for 30 minutes. Check to see if there is any moisture left in the puree. If still damp bake for a few more minutes, repeat until the flakes are dry. Cool to room temperature.
3. Grind the flakes in a food processor until you have a finely ground, flour-like powder.
You now have coconut flour! Store it in the freezer and use within 3 months. You can use your homemade coconut flour in place of coconut flour in your favorite recipes or replace a few tablespoons of the flour in baked goods (you may have to increase the liquid, find out more at BakingBites.com). It's high in fiber and adds a nice flavor to banana bread, muffins and other recipes.
Coconut Milk Recipe, Cost Savings
I buy my Bob’s Red Mill coconut flakes for around $3.50. One 12 ounce bag makes approximately 16 cups of coconut milk . If you figure 4 cups of commercial coconut milk costs around $2.00 it would cost $8.00 to get 16 cups. PLUS you also produce around 2-2.5 cups of coconut flour (8-9 ounces). One pound of commercially produced organic coconut flour cost $6.70 so you are getting $3.35 worth of coconut flour our of your coconut flakes.
To review: 1-$3.50 bag of organic unsweetened coconut = 16 cups ($8.00 worth) of coconut milk + 8 ounces ($3.35 worth) of coconut flour.
You're saving $7.85 for a few minutes of work AND avoiding unnecessary food additives. I also like the fact that I can have the ingredients on hand to make coconut milk anytime!
I hope you try making coconut milk!
Tip: Vary your water temperature, soaking time and blending speed to customize your coconut milk.