xmlns:fb='http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml' How to make Coconut Milk

Friday, August 12, 2011

How to make Coconut Milk

The extract of freshly grated flesh of a mature coconut mixed with water is referred to as coconut milk. The mature coconut is easily identifiable with a tough, brown, hairy shell. Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water which is a sweet clear liquid found in a young, green coconut and makes for a refreshing beverage.

On the other hand, coconut cream is the result of allowing the coconut milk to stand. The thick white cream which rises to the top is scooped up and also used in recipes. 
 
In addition to the many health benefits of coconut milk, it adds a creamy, exotic, rich flavor to both desserts and main dishes. Both the white coconut meat and milk are used to make many Trinidadian desserts such as home-made coconut ice cream, sugar cake, sweetbread, coconut bread, cassava pone and main dishes including coconut bake, flour dumplings, pelau, callaloo, oil down, curries and stews. 

Canned coconut milk can also be used in recipes but is probably nutritionally void of all the vitamins and minerals found in freshly made milk. For an exhaustive list of all the health benefits, go to http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/.

This is my method for extracting coconut milk from a “dry coconut” (when my husband is not available to do all the work).

Ingredients
1 dry coconut
2 cups boiling water

Tools
Blender
Sieve
Measuring cup

*****When buying coconuts, choose those that feel heavy and have liquid inside***

[Mr.Coconut, appearing soon in the next Steven King movie...really, don't be scared, it's harmless.....]
If you would like, you can first drain the water out of the coconut. Using a pointed utensil bore a hole in each eye of the coconut. (The coconut has a face on the pointy end, the two closest together form the "eyes" the third is the "mouth" represented by 3 black spots.)
[I felt like a criminal poking a hole in it's eye...the things I do for food....I am guilty your honor]
Crack open with a hammer on a hard surface. To minimize mess, place in a tough plastic bag or wrap with a towel before cracking with a hammer. 
[Notice the knife stuck to the coconut..couldn't get it out...cause I'm a doofus ..the sharp object above wasn't really working..and the knife wasn't working...(note to self--use screw driver next time) where is my husband when I need him?]
To remove the flesh from the coconut use a dull table knife or spoon and progressively pry the flesh away from the shell.

This step can be expedited, simplified and made less dangerous by first baking the pieces of coconut at 250 degrees for 15 minutes or freezing the small pieces of coconut for 30 minutes. This really works!!
[Only took me 20 years to figure this out…. ]
Cut coconut into small pieces. (Certain recipes may require you to remove the brown part, do so with a paring knife)
Save a piece for yourself to snack on...Reward yourself for all this work...
[Really...where the heck is my husband..he always does this for me....]
In a blender, add coconut pieces, 2 cups of boiling water and blend well for several minutes. Let stand for several more minutes. 
Squeeze out the milk by pressing on the coconut in a sieve to extract as much of the milk as possible.  You can repeat the process with more water but the result will be less concentrated each time. Keep overnight in the refrigerator if required. 
Note: You can also use a food processor or grater to grate coconut. It is time consuming but still works.  If using, pour boiling water over grated coconut and let stand for 20 minutes. Stir and squeeze out milk as shown above. 
[that was really easy...really...who needs men? :-)]
 The delicious possibilities are ENDLESS now that you can make home-made, healthy, tasty, fresh,did I say healthy coconut milk!!!!!! You must try making it!!

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