Coconut milk and coconut flour are used by most people eating a Paleo diet.
You can buy them, but it is just as easy to make them yourself. And it usually works out far cheaper as well.
Packs of unsweetened coconut are readily available and very cost effective to buy. Coconut flour is EXPENSIVE! And while canned coconut milk is fairly cheap, the vast majority of brands contain questionable ingredients such as guar gum and carageenan, both of which can irritate your gut.
When you make your own coconut milk, you know exactly what has gone into it… And the coconut flour is a buy-product of the coconut-milk making process.
Homemade Coconut Milk
makes aprox 4 cups
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut (make sure you read the packet to make sure it does not contain any sugar)
- 4 cups boiling water
The first thing you need to do is to put your coconut in a heat-proof container and add the boiling water. I do not recommend you do this in your blender even if it claims that the glass jar is heat-proof… I have had one break by doing just this! I always use a pyrex jug to soak the coconut.
Leave it for half an hour to soak, then tip the mixture into your blender. Blend on the highest heat setting for 5 minutes. The longer you blend this, the more of the coconutty goodness you will extract.
You now need to strain out the coconut pulp. For this, you need either a jelly or nut-milk bag or several thicknesses of muslin. Line a sieve with whatever you are using to strain the milk, and place it over a bowl or jug. Tip the contents of the blender in to the lined sieve. Now you need to hang the bag somewhere and allow the coconut milk to drain out. I usually hang it from one of the kitchen cupboard doors with the jug I am collecting the milk in underneath. Hang it until the milk is no longer dripping out, then give the bag a good squeeze to extract as much liquid as possible.
The liquid you have extracted is coconut milk…
Pour it into a jar and store it in the fridge.
You may find that your coconut milk separates into a thick layer with a watery layer underneath… this is perfectly OK and is because your homemade milk has no additives or thickeners added (this is what the guar gum and carageenan is added for). Just stir the 2 layers back together before using. Or you can use the thick creamy layer as coconut cream and add the thinner layer to smoothies.
You can make a second, thinner batch that is idea as a milk-replacement beverage with the pulp if you like by repeating this process. I do sometimes, but this time I did not bother.
Don’t throw out the coconut residue… this is what you are going to make coconut flour from.
Homemade Coconut Flour
makes aprox 1 cup
To make this, you take the residue from the coconut milk that you have just made and dry it.
To do this, you can either use a food dehydrator as I do (line the trays with a paraflexx sheet, a silpat mat or a sheet of baking parchment first), or you can spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet and dry it in the oven at the lowest setting possible. Watch it like a hawk if drying in the oven – it burns very easily!
Once your coconut residue is dry (this takes around 6 hours in my dehydrator), tip it into your blender and blend at high speed until you have a fine powder…
This is your coconut flour.
Use in any recipes that call for it just as you would use purchased coconut flour.