So, I am not the biggest fan of coconut. I know most people love it, and it’s all the rage at the moment (for a lot of good reasons), but I just… don’t love coconut. At all.
However, I recently started a fun thing called the “AIP Diet”, or Autoimmune Protocol. I have some fun health issues that have annoyed me for years, and I’ve finally gotten serious about tackling them – which means cutting out wheat and other grains, dairy, nightshades, legumes, sugar, alcohol, and a bunch of other things. Functionally, I can eat meat, veggies, fruit… and coconut. I find this to be darkly hilarious.
Surprisingly enough, the recipes in the Autoimmune Protocol cookbooks I’ve been using have been consistently delicious! And the results are sooooo worth it. I’ll go into that detail in another post. However, coconut flour and coconut milk aren’t super cheap – and generally, but especially these days, many of us are on a SUPER TIGHT budget. As an example of costs, a pound of Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour costs $6-$8, if you can find it. Coconut milk? $3/qt for shelf-stable. Coconut butter seems to be somewhere around $8/lb at the lowest. Finely shredded, unsweetened coconut, however, you can find for as low as $2/lb. If you use a lot of coconut, that’s potentially a lot of savings! As an added bonus, there’s no sugar, guar gum, preservatives, or anything else hiding in there – only what you choose to add!
Now, on to the good stuff…
The short version is that you use the shredded coconut to make coconut milk, and the leftovers from that get turned into flour. While the original recipe I used was in a cookbook, once I started researching what to do with the leftovers, I found this gem of an article discussing this very topic – so credit definitely goes to Tracy at “Oh The Things We’ll Make!”. She offers some additional details there on what you can and can’t do easily with the homemade stuff, things to watch out for, and such. Definitely suggested reading. I will go ahead and include the basic recipes and instructions here, however, as I use them regularly and want to be able to provide you, dear reader, with as many easy-to-find resources as possible! So, without further ado.
Homemade Coconut Milk
This is best made in small batches and used within a couple days, as it doesn’t have any preservatives – and it will separate! Coconut milk is a combination of coconut fat and water, which means that it will quickly become two layers. I recommend gently heating and shaking before use if you need to refrigerate it. An alternative is to freeze it in ice cube trays for future use. And don’t toss the leftover pulp – that’s what you’ll use to make coconut flour!
Making Coconut Flour from Leftover Pulp
Waste not, want not! This one is super easy. Typically used in autoimmune protocol, paleo, GAPS, gluten-free, and low-FODMAP diets, it can be swapped for many other flours. The consistency is a bit different, so I recommend using tried-and-true recipes or adding some additional liquid.
Coconut Milk and Coconut Flour
- Food Processor
- Baking sheet
- Blender or Coffee Grinder
- 1 cup Coconut finely shredded
- 2 cups Water boiling
- Add boiling water to shredded coconut in your blender or food processor. Mine (a Kitchenaid foor processor) didn't melt or warp, just FYI! Let it soak for a few minutes; while you're doing so, setup a jar or bowl with cheesecloth or muslin to strain the pulp when it's blended.
- Blend the coconut and water for a few minutes, pausing for motor cooldowns if needed.
- Pour the mixture into your cheesecloth, let cool for a few minutes, and strain/squeeze the milk out. Voila! And save the pulp – you'll need that next.
- Use the coconut milk immediately or store in the fridge/freeze in ice cube trays for future use. Use within a couple days if refrigerating.
- Spread the pulp in a thin layer on a baking sheet. You can use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to line the sheet, if you prefer. You can also use a food dehydrator (electric or solar) for this step.
- Bake on low heat (about 170 F) for about 4 hours, or until completely dry. It should still be white; otherwise, you have toasted coconut flour!
- Once cooled, grind in a food processor, high-powered blender, or coffee grinder until very fine. (This will be dependent upon your grinding implement of choice; it's fine however it ends up.)
- Store in an airtight container and enjoy!