Monday, June 4, 2012

Fresh Coconut Milk

As  I mentioned earlier, Merle, our baby nurse, is from Trinidad and was more than eager to share some of the flavors of her home country. One thing I had expressed interest in learning how to do was crack a coconut. I've always just used the canned coconut milk or the bag of dried flake coconut when a recipe asked for it, but she assured me that fresh was well worth the effort. I like a shortcut just as much as the next person, but she was totally right - fresh makes all the difference. And it's kind of fun to smash something. So here's how she does it...

First look for a coconut that is nice and dark in color and has 3 dark eyes at one end. You should also shake it to make sure there is water inside.

Then carefully hammer around the coconut about a third of the way from the end.

Once it starts to split, hold a glass up in one hand and use the other to pour the coconut water out. Take a drink - it's much better than the stuff you buy in the store!

At this point, continue hammering the coconut until it breaks into big chunks (probably best to do this over the sink).

Using a knife (we used a steak knife), separate the meat (white part) of the coconut from the outer shell. Once you start to pry it off, it should part from the shell pretty easily. There will still be a thin layer of brown, and this is totally fine. If you are making something that you need to be all white, like flaking the coconut for a cake, use a peeler and remove the thin brown layer.

Rinse off the coconut with water, cut into small pieces and place in a blender. Add enough cold water to cover.


And there you have delicious coconut milk! You can keep it in the fridge if you plan on using it soon or freeze it. The fat will solidify on the top, but you can cook with it all just the same. It's perfect for Pelau. Or you can immediately make a pina colada and dream of sitting on a beach in the Carribean. Perfection.

1 comment:

  1. I really wish I had read this tutorial before the first time I attempted to open a coconut. Total comedy. And yes, fresh is best!