Mi Gone Coconuts, Part II
The coconut has so many uses… it’s awesome. When the coconut matures, the white meat inside hardens. My friend, Roxanne, has been visiting us from Jamaica and showed us how to make coconut milk and coconut oil. I feel confident that we could now survive on a deserted, tropical island if necessary.
It’s difficult to separate the coconut meat from the hard coconut shell. There is a learning curve to figure it out, but once you do, it gets easier. It takes a little practice. Roxanne uses a knife to pry the meat away from the shell. It was tedious at first, but I found my groove. Roxanne showed me how to put my thumb right up at the tip of the knife.
In Jamaica, they use a grater made from a piece of aluminum zinc that is made by piercing it with an ice pick. I don’t have one, but I am definitely getting one. It’s a very useful device. Since I don’t have one right now, we cut the coconut meat into small bits. We then blended it in the blender with a little water just to soften it and make it juicy so we could squeeze and strain it out.
We then strained out the milk from the blended coconut meat. We squeezed the blended coconut meat some more with our hands to get out all the milk.
The coconut milk is so incredibly delicious, I could not believe it. I always buy and use canned coconut milk and I thought that was good. The fresh milk knocked my socks off. We cooked the coconut milk in a big pot over the stove on medium to high. We cooked it for a couple of hours and stirred it every once in a while to make sure it didn’t burn. Roxanne said the cooking time depends on how many coconuts are used. After awhile, the coconut oil separated from the milk and rose to the top. A coconut custard developed underneath. We drained off the coconut oil and put it in a container to cook with. It can be used anytime for anything. It has a long shelf life and does not go rancid easily. We cooked scrambled eggs with some of it the next morning. It gives your food such a wonderful flavor and there is research that suggests coconut oil is extremely good for your health.
The custard that formed at the bottom of the pot is a whole different story. I think I would climb mountains and cross seas for this stuff. OMG! We were all trying to hide it from each other in the fridge. It didn’t need any sugar or any other ingredients added to it. It was just incredible.
Roxanne is from Portland, Jamaica. She has plenty of ripe coconuts at her disposal to make whatever she wants, but she doesn’t make it very often. It can easily be an all-day process. If you’re going to use one coconut, you might as well use ten. We rubbed the coconut oil on our skin as a lotion and I put it on the ends of my hair. We rubbed some on our lips too. Good stuff! I doubt I will be making my own coconut milk very often either and I will continue to buy canned coconut milk. I always look for the canned coconut milk that does not have any preservatives such at the Thai Kitchen and Whole Foods 365 brands. I mix a can of coconut milk with two cans of water, a little salt and honey to keep in the refrigerator. We use it instead of cow’s milk for almost everything.
The next time you see a can of coconut milk, you’ll know what had to be done to make it. I have a whole new appreciation for it.
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