Coconut Milk is a wonderful alternative to pasteurized cow’s milk or to rice, soy or other processed milks. Unfortunately, the cans of most store bought versions of coconut milk are lined with BPA. New refrigerated carton varieties are somewhat better, but can be expensive and many have added sweeteners or preservatives. Fortunately, making coconut milk at home is simple and very inexpensive.
From my calculations, homemade coconut milk costs less than $1 per batch, and it can be used in smoothies, recipes or just to drink. It can also be flavored with natural vanilla, strawberries or cocoa powder. Coconut is packed with medium chain fatty acids and lauric acid. It has many health promoting benefits and is especially good for kids. Try this inexpensive way to make coconut milk:
4 cups of water
1.5-2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut
Heat water, but don’t boil. It should be hot, but not scalding.
Put coconut in blender or Vitamix and add water. (If all water won’t fit, you can add the water in two batches.)
Blend on high for several minutes until thick and creamy.
Pour through a mesh colander first to get most of the coconut out, and then squeeze through a towel or several thicknesses of cheesecloth to get remaining pieces of coconut out.
If you have to split the water, put all the coconut that you strained out back in the blender, add the remaining water, and repeat.
Flavor options- add in after all coconut has been strained out: ½ tsp vanilla extract, ½ cup fresh or frozen strawberries, 2 tsp cocoa powder + ½ tsp vanilla.
Drink immediately or store in the fridge. Should be used in 3-4 days after making for best flavor and texture. Since there are no preservatives or fillers, the “cream” of the coconut milk may separate on the top if stored in the fridge. Just shake or stir before using.