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. 

Mature, brown coconuts ready to be cracked open.

Greg poked a hole in the top of the coconut with a knife to drain the liquid out. This isn't the hard part.

We drained the liquid out of the coconut before we cracked it open.

Greg took the coconuts outside and cracked them open with a screwdriver and hammer.

The shelled coconut meat.

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. 

This is how Roxanne holds the knife when she separates the hard coconut meat from the shell.

Chopped up coconut meat, ready to go in the pot to cook down.

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. 

This is the blended coconut meat before it is strained and squeezed.Roxanne squeezing out the coconut milk.

The squeezed coconut. Notice the finger marks.

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. 

Delicious and fresh coconut 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. 

Homemade coconut oil.

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. 

The coconut custard.

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. 

This is Roxanne with a Michelia champaca flower in her hair.

 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.

Come grow with us!

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8 Responses to “Mi Gone Coconuts, Part II”

  1. I can’t make a veg curry without it. Now I know all about it! Thanks!

    • 9bgardener Says:

      Right on! And now, after reading this article, even just cooking the callaloo in coconut milk takes on a whole new dimension of appreciation!

  2. Exactly what is its shelf life? And does the cococonut oil is solid at room temperature?

  3. […] BANANA SMOOTHIE RECIPE NOTE: Ignore the cumin in the photo… that little bugger just snuck in there… Nervy little thing!… […]

  4. Thank you for explaining this! I have a lot of questions I hope you don’t mind answering! 🙂 Would you mind sharing what you did with the initial liquid and the coconut meat? Could the meat be used in some fashion like shredded coconut? Does the milk have to be cooked to use it ? Would a cheese grater work for the coconut meat or is there a special reason why you need an aluminum zinc one? Thanks again!

    • I don’t remember what I did with the initial liquid, it didn’t taste very good. The coconut meat could definitely be used for shredded coconut. The milk does not have to be cooked to use it, just to separate the oil from it. I’m sure there’s some great ideas floating around about this. A cheese grater can be used to shred the coconut meat, but I don’t think it would shred it finely enough. You want to really break it down so you can easily squeeze all the good stuff out. This task was difficult. The zinc grater is the way the Jamaicans do it and they say it really works for them.

  5. Shelf life of oil is longer if you cook it until the custards become golden brown.:)

    • Chris Pilcher Says:

      To me the mature(ripe), hard brown nut has milk and meat which taste MUCH better than that from the green nut.
      Also if one uses either a drill with a 2cm hole cutter or a hacksaw then all sorts of things can be made from the shell which will polish up to a magnificent shine.

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