Homemade coconut milk is one of those, "Why didn't I know about this?" kinds of recipes. (And it's really more of just a series of a few steps than a recipe). I used to buy ready-to-drink coconut milk at the grocery store - you know, the kind that comes in a carton like regular cow's milk. I even found one that was unsweetened, but it still had all kinds of preservatives and fillers, like carageenan (the research on carageenan is inconclusive, but suggests it may cause gastrointestinal distress, and we don't want that), and even more than that, it just didn't taste that good! Enter these recipes. They come together in minutes, are cheaper than buying ready-to-drink coconut milk, you control what goes in it, and they taste better! Win!
Version 1: Full-Fat Canned Coconut Milk + Water
(The way I usually do it, because it's super fast. It's sort of a cheat, but who cares):
- 1 can coconut milk
- 3-4 cans water
Public Service Announcement: Don't buy low-fat canned coconut milk. It usually has more thickeners/stabilizers, and it's just watered down - a waste of your money! Even if you're using a recipe such as a curry calling for 1 can of coconut milk, just use a little less of the cream and water it down yourself if you'd like. (Plus, the fats in coconut - Medium Chain Triglycerides, or MCTs - are good for your heart, your brain, and actually promote weight loss. You want that)!
- Combine 1 can coconut milk with 3-4 cans of water, depending on how thick you want your milk. I buy this Native Forest brand, it's organic and has a BPA-free lining.
- Blend together in either a large blender, or a large glass jar with an immersion blender.
- Pour into jars, and refrigerate. Ta-da! That's it.
- Keeps for about a week
Version 2: Coconut Flakes + Water
- 2 C water
- 1 C coconut flakes - I buy organic coconut flakes in the bulk section at Wegmans , it's super cheap this way! *Make sure to use just dehydrated coconut, and not processed coconut that has sugar and oils added to it - read yo' labels.
- Heat the water (hot, but not boiling)
- Add the water to your coconut flakes in a blender or large jar.
- Blend in your blender, or use your stick blender, until the coconut is emulsified, thick and creamy. I actually do this right in a mason jar! (Feel free split the coconut and water into batches however, if you don't have a large enough container).
- Strain through a mesh colander to get most of the water out, then squeeze through cheese cloth or a nut milk bag. (I have done this exclusively with a fine mesh strainer, so that works in a pinch if you don't have the cheese cloth).
- *Bonus: coconut pulp! Don't waste it! You can refrigerate the pulp and and add it to yogurt, smoothies, baked goods, or sprinkle on cereal. Use within a week. Or, dehydrate it in a 150 degree oven on a cookie sheet until dry (check and shake periodically, about 40 - 50 minutes), and keep in the pantry in a jar; just make sure it's fully dehydrated or it will mold.
Optional flavor add-ins per approximately every 2 C of coconut milk: 1 tsp vanilla extract; 2-4 tsp cocoa powder + 1 tsp vanilla extract (add sweetener if desired, but the milk has a natural, mild sweetness)!
Tell me in thecomments below: Did you make it? What did you think? What did you use it for?!