A delicious alternative to milk, coconut milk is an allergy-friendly beverage that is easy to make yourself at home using either fresh or dried coconut. For a no-waste product, make coconut flour with the remaining coconut pulp.
Soak the shredded coconut in the water for around 10 minutes. You can use the blender jar for this step as we'll be using that next.
If using a fresh coconut
Open the coconut and remove the coconut "meat" from the shell. Break the coconut into pieces and add it to the blender with the water. (Remove the brown skin with a vegetable peeler if you want to make coconut flour with the remaining pulp.)
Making the coconut milk
Blend the coconut and water mixture in a blender for a minute or two. The longer you blend, the more you'll release the fats and flavor from the coconut.
Meanwhile, prepare a cheesecloth or white cotton towel and a bowl by lining the bowl with the cloth.
Pour the mixture into the cloth lined bowl and strain out the liquid from the pulp. This can be done by twisting the top of the cloth (so the pulp doesn't escape) and wringing the liquid into the bowl below.
The liquid that you squeeze from the pulp is your coconut milk. You can use it right away, store it in the fridge for a couple of days, or freeze it in ice cube trays for easy future dispensing.
Make Coconut Flour
If you want to make coconut flour, don't throw away the remaining coconut pulp. Instead, spread it out in a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake on low heat until it feels completely dry. (If not completely dry, it won't keep well and will grow mold.)
Grind in a food processor until fine. You can follow up with a coffee grinder to get a finer flour if your food processor or blender doesn't get it as fine as you'd like.
Nutritional information assumes approximates one 1/2 cup serving of coconut milk plus 1/4 cup of the resultant coconut flour.
Using coconut milk
When storing homemade coconut milk in the fridge, it normally separates into a thick layer that floats on a thin, watery layer. Before using, shake it or stir it well. (You may need to slightly heat it first if the top layer has hardened.)Note that homemade coconut milk can't be used successfully in all recipes that call for canned coconut milk. That is because some recipes, like coconut whipped cream, take advantage of the thickeners and stabilizers generally found in canned coconut milk.
Flavoring coconut milk
Optionally add a dash of salt and/or some sweetener to add some flavor to your homemade coconut milk. (Some people also like to add a dash of homemade vanilla extract!)
Coconut flour notes
Remove as much of the fat from the coconut pulp before drying it to make flour. This can be done by making a new batch of coconut milk with the same pulp using hot or very warm water. (Keep in mind that subsequent batches of coconut milk will normally be thinner than the first batch. Thinner coconut milk can be added to flavor teas and/or soups or other recipes.)It's very unlikely that you'll be able to grind your homemade coconut flour as finely as commercial varieties. In most recipes, though, I haven't found it to be a problem. It may vary by the recipe, though.