Coconut Milk & Cream

Coconut milk and cream are used in many recipes. Ripe coconuts are available in most supermarkets. If fresh coconut is not available, try to find packaged coconut cream. If this is not possible, then use dry coconut, available in most supermarkets and health-food stores. Most supermarkets also carry canned coconut milk (used for the ever popular piña colada).

The fresh coconut that the supermarkets sell now for coffee is much lighter than what you are trying to make here. The canned coconut milk is much thicker and closer to this.

To make your own: Pierce 2 of the 3 eyes of a coconut and drain out the water. Strain and set aside. Put the coconut on a very hard surface and whack at it with a hammer. It will crack into enough small pieces to make it easy to remove the meat with a grapefruit spoon. Do not bother to remove the brown skin from the pieces to make the milk or cream. However, if grated coconut is to be used in a recipe, it is necessary to peel this off.

Grate the coconut as fine as possible, or place in a blender or food processor with the reserved coconut water.

For a very rich coconut milk, squeeze the grated coconut through a damp cloth, twisting the cloth to extract as much liquid as possible.

For ordinary use, however, pour one cup of boiling water over the grated coconut and let it stand for one hour. Squeeze through a cloth. This process may be repeated with a second cup of boiling water if abundant, not very rich coconut milk is needed.

For Coconut Cream, allow the coconut milk to stand until the cream rises to the top. This is very thick and rich and is wonderful with desserts.

As packaged shredded coconut, and canned moist grated coconut may not be as rich as fresh coconut, hot milk or light cream may be used instead of water to make coconut milk or cream.

Packaged coconut cream should be mixed to the desired consistency with hot water.

The average coconut weighs about 1 ½ pounds, and yields between 3 and 4 cups of grated meat. If mixed with the coconut water and hot water, this should yield about 3 cups of coconut milk. The amount will vary with the freshness and quality of the coconut.

Coconut Milk