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Wonderful Coconut Milk!
my book, "Vice Cream", I tell how to make coconut milk. I also have a pictoral on this site with
instructions to make coconut milk. This page offers some information on "what is coconut milk".
- Jeff Rogers
I have long loved the flavor of coconut. I have also enjoyed the texture of fresh coconut, which is used in a variety of foods.
Coconut refers to the the fruit/seed of the coconut palm tree. The coconut fruit includes the husk. The seed is the interior shell, edible "meat", and "water" inside. The fairly clear liquid inside the coconut is "coconut water".
True coconut milk comes from the mature (brown) coconut "meat" (the white edible part within the seed/shell). In areas where coconuts are not picked fresh, the flesh within the shell is usually drier than when picked fresh. Adding additional coconut water to the shredded meat can bring the consistancy back in line with fresh-picked coconut milk. That is why I use coconut water in the processing of the coconut meat to produce coconut milk. Shredding and pressing the meat by itself is more in line with coconut cream. A milk from fresh-picked coconuts, when allowed to settle in the refrigerator will separate into the coconut cream on top and water on the bottom.
To make fresh coconut milk, feel free to follow my instructions here: How to make fresh coconut milk
Coconut milk is also available processed in cans, as well as frozen in bags. It is also available dried in bags (which may have other ingredients, read the labels!).
Another way to make coconut milk when whole coconuts are not available, is to rehydrated shredded coconut and then extract the milk, similar to my linked instructions above. Rehydrating can be done with water or, for a richer flavor, coconut water (preferably fresh).
A substitute for coconut milk is the blending of the coconut water and "jelly" from a young coconut (also called immature coconuts or "Thai" coconuts). When coconut milk, or its ingredients, is not available, but young coconuts are available, the water and jelly (immature meat) can be blended in a high-speed blender into a creamy texture. The flavor, richness, and fat content are not the same as the real thing, but is a great substitute. If used and especially if sold, this substitute should not be referred to as "coconut milk". It is not coconut milk. It is a substitute. To avoid confusion and to offer customers accurate information for them to make informed choices, please label it accurately. Calling it "young coconut milk" is a good option. Otherwise, "immature coconut milk" (though it doesn't sound as pleasant to me!) would work.
If you're interested in how to make coconut milk ice cream (fresh or canned coconut milk), there are recipes using coconut milk in my book, "Vice Cream". Additional recipes using other "milks", such as almond, cashew, or hazelnut, can be substitued with coconut milk.
Mature (brown) Coconut
Young (Thai, immature, white) Coconut
...with the skin and some husk removed for shipment (found in the market covered in plastic wrap).
Mature (brown) Coconut "Meat"
...with a thin skin that stays with the meat when removed from the shell. Yes, the skin is edible too!
How to make fresh coconut milk...
For instructions on how to open a mature coconut CLICK HERE!
For instructions on removing the coconut "meat" CLICK HERE!
For instructions on how to shred coconut CLICK HERE!
For instructions on making fresh (raw) coconut "milk" CLICK HERE!
How to open a young coconut...
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