Trying to feed four children a whole food diet can get a little expensive. A few of my children cannot do dairy and we love coconut milk. With the amount I was going through in a week, I was having a hard time keeping us supplied for a reasonable cost. I learned that I could make it easily and found a bulk source for the shredded coconut. Now, instead of roughly $15 a week for milk, I spend less than that a month. And we get to have lots of coconut yogurt and ice cream too. Yum! Here’s how I make it… The ratio of coconut to water is 1 cup of shredded coconut (dried, organic, unsweetened) to 2 cups of water. If you will be using this milk for culturing, be sure it is free of chlorine, chloramines and fluoride. Heat the water so that it is quite warm, but not boiling. You may need to experiment with how much your blender can hold. I usually use 4 cups of water and 2 cups of coconut. The mixture will expand by about twice its volume while it is blending so be sure to take that into account! My blender has a “soups” setting and I use that. Use the highest speed setting and blend for at least 90 seconds. When finished blending, lay a tight-weave towel in a colander set over a large bowl. Pour the coconut and water mixture into this and allow to drain. To extract all the coconut goodness, you will need to twist up your towel and squeeze hard. Allow to cool a while before doing this. Burned fingers are no fun. If we are going to use the milk fresh for drinking, cooking or making ice cream, I add a stabilizer. guar gum is something I always have on hand for gluten free cooking and it works very well. A half teaspoon per quart of coconut milk makes a creamy milk. I rinse out the blender and mix the milk and gum with a few quick pulses of the blender. I make a half gallon of milk at a time, which stays fresh in the refrigerator for about 5 days. Making coconut milk will leave you with coconut pulp. What to do with all of that pulp? How about coconut flour! I love having lots of flour on hand as an extra ‘bonus’ for making my own fresh coconut milk. If you have a dehydrator, spread the pulp on trays lined with sheet used for making fruit leather. Fluff a few times during the drying process. Or, use your oven on the lowest setting, also fluffing and stirring while it is dehydrating. The length of time it will take to dry your pulp depends on how much of the water you were able to extract. For a fluffy, light flour, return the dried coconut flour to the blender or a food processor and pulse to break up the clumps. Use in any recipe that calls for coconut flour.
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