Homemade coconut milk contains just two ingredients. That’s it. It’s GAPS-friendly, Paleo, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, and when you make it at home, you don’t have to worry about the guar gum, xanthan gum, carob bean gum, natural flavors, or other additives found in commercial brands that can negatively affect your health and digestion.
Most of the cans used for commercial food items on grocery store shelves are lined with Bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor that interferes with the production and function of natural hormones; specifically, BPA can imitate your body’s estrogen production. Because of the controversy, a handful of companies have been lining cans with alternatives such as acrylic, polyester, polyethylene, and oleoresin, a non-toxic mixture of oil and resin extracted from plants, such as pine or balsam fir, but even those are in question when it comes to long-term storage and possible leaching effects.
I’ve only found one brand of commercial coconut milk without additives, and when I opened the can, discovered gray coconut milk with a sulfur-like odor. I threw away every can, and started making my own.
You’ll find a variety of recipes for homemade coconut milk online, all with different ratios of water to coconut. I’ve found a 2:1 ratio of water to coconut is the most economical, and produces the best flavor, color, and consistency. Because it’s rare to find fresh, local coconut, look for the least processed (flakes vs. shredded) organic, unsweetened, dried variety.
- 2 cups flaked, unsweetened coconut
- 4 cups very hot water (about 180 F)
- Nut milk bag or cheesecloth
- In a medium bowl combine coconut and water. Let stand 7 minutes. Transfer mixture to a food processor, blender, or frozen drink/smoothie blender. Pulse several times to mix, and then blend on high until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Place nut milk bag in the previously-used medium bowl. Pour coconut mixture through the nut milk bag; squeeze to release liquid into the bowl. *If you don’t have a nut milk bag, line a fine-mesh strainer with cheese cloth and place over the bowl. Pour mixture into the cheesecloth, hold or tie the cheesecloth closed, and squeeze over the strainer to release the liquid.
- Transfer liquid to a glass container or jar; refrigerate up to 1 week, or freeze up to 3 months. Coconut cream will rise to the top as the mixture cools in the refrigerator. Skim off or shake container before use to incorporate the cream back into the liquid.
Save and freeze strained coconut pulp to use in smoothies.
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