Sunday, November 15, 2015

Coco Loco

I cannot tell you how LONG I've been wanting to post this particular blog. You know why? Because it's pure awesome....and delicious.

It's no surprise that I'm thrifty. And anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE all things COCONUT! I always have. But when coconut milk came on the market, I was less than thrilled. First, it never tasted like coconut to me. Second, it was missing a ton of flavor and was FULL of gut damaging fillers (carrageenan and gums? No thank you!). So, I set out on a quest to make my own that tasted like actual coconuts should.

At first I was making coconut milk from cans of coconut milk. Remember this blog post? Well, I never was quite comfortable with that method because I don't like to consume anything from cans. And, while that version was better than the garbage they sell next to the soy milks, it still lacked substance. So, I decided to buy a good old brown fuzzy coconut and go to town. What I found is that I could get coconut water, coconut milk, coconut flour and then coconut flour pastries, all from one single $2 coconut. Holla!

Without further adieu, here's what you'll need (all available via Amazon.com):
Your tools: Brown coconut, coconut tapping tool, meat separator and nut milk bag.
You'll need a coconut tapping tool & a meat separator (available as a bundle here), a brown coconut (available at asian stores, Whole Foods, Earthfare, etc.) and a nut milk bag.

Three eyes.
Once you have those tools, grab your coconut and look at the top with the three eyes. One of these eyes is a "soft spot" (only one, the other two are hard as rocks), where you will push your coconut tapping tool into.

Tap the soft eye. 
Once you've tapped the eye, remove the tool and either insert a straw and drink, or tip it over into a glass to drain all the delicious coconut water out of it.

Drink up!

Or save for later.
Once the water is drained, it's safe for cracking in half. I use a hammer, but I've also been known to just throw it down on concrete and watch it shatter open. It's a good way to get out aggression. Once it's open, you can see all the nummy white meat inside. This is what you'll use to make your milk.
Blessings from the tropics!
Now, that meat doesn't just fall out. It takes a little work to peel it away from the shell. This is where your separator tool comes in handy. Just work the tool in-between the meat and the shell and wiggle back and forth until the meat pops out. (Don't worry about the brown "rind" on the meat. You can eat that and leave it on!)

Separate meat from the shell.
Take all the meat and place in your vitamix (or similar) blender. I usually fill the water up a couple inches above the meat. Usually this will take the total mixture up to the 7-8 cup mark on my blender container. Put the lid on and blend on high for a good 30-60 seconds. In the colder months, I have to blend longer to get the coconut oils in the meat to really melt. You want it to be a bit warm so it's easier to strain. If it's not slightly warm, blend longer.

Meat and water. Don't worry about the brown fragments. They are edible!
Once it's good and blended, you'll want to strain the pulp from the milk through a nut milk bag. Don't forget to squeeze the bag to get all the delicious milk out!

Pour the blended mixture into your nut milk bag. 

Squeeze the bag to get all the yummy milk out.
After you've squeezed all the milk out, put the strained milk back into the blender with a pinch of real salt, sweetener of choice, vanilla, cinnamon, etc. (whatever you like!). Blend until mixed.
Add ins!

Make sure to rinse the blender container before adding the strained milk back in.
Once you have it blended, pour into mason jars. I usually get 1.5 -2.5 quarts of milk that I use for drinking, smoothies, creamer (for my chaga tea!), etc.

Milk!

I love fresh coconut milk in my morning chaga tea. I top with cinnamon! Yum!
Once the milk sets in the fridge, it will separate. The cream will rise to the top. You can scrape this and make coconut whipped cream and use the remaining liquid for smoothies. Or simply stir or blend it back together. I found that a pour lid works really well with my milk. You can find that on Amazon.

Now that your milk is finished, it's time to do something with all that pulp.

Coconut pulp. 
If you have a dehydrator, place in a tray of your dehydrator. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can use your oven on the lowest setting, or even dry in the sun!

Coconut pulp ready for dehydrating into coconut flour.
Once it's dehydrated, you'll want to blend it again to break up the chunks and then store it in the freezer. Coconut flour is EXTREMELY absorbent and will pull moisture from the air and get yucky fast in your cupboard.

Place in freezer bag and freeze the dehydrated flour.

You can toast the flour before use to give your baked goods a more "nutty" flavor. Or you can use it as is. I use as is and make so many yummy goodies for me and the kids, like these fantastic gluten free/paleo blueberry muffins. Or my favorite zucchini banana bread. Or even paleo sandwich bread. And for the vegans, remember my 3 ingredient coconut flour cookies?

I'm loving this zucchini bread with sun butter. Drool.

The kids go gaga over these paleo coconut flour blueberry muffins!
There you have it, folks! That's a lot of stuff for $2! And you can rest easy knowing that it's free of gut disturbing fillers, preservatives, etc. If you have a favorite coconut flour recipe, leave it in the comments! I'd love to try your family favorites.

I hope you love the results as much as I do. Cheers!

Stephanie