Making coconut milk with my two hands at my mom's under construction kitchen.
Since I've been making my own soaps, I've got a lot of knowledge about all the good benefit of natural oils. One of them is coconut oil, especially the cold process virgin coconut oil. The more I read about it, the more I am captivated about all the secret benefits hidden in this oil that is good for human body and that makes me want to know more about how it is made, and why it is so pricey.
I was lucky enough to find one Thai website writing about how virgin coconut oil is made locally. It doesn't have to be or to have anything fancy, you can get your own virgin coconut oil that is very clear just like water with true coconut scent.
Fresh coconut from our yard
This is like finding a gold mine for me. I really wanted to try and to see with my very own eyes how the clear oil would come out from the coconut milk, but my problem was I live in Manhattan where fresh coconut milk is impossible to find, so I had to wait and wait and wait to take a trip back home in Thailand where coconut trees are already standing tall at my parent's yard.
My parent's house in Nakhon Si Tammarat province with our coconut trees.
The day I got home, I already saw coconuts under the tree, mum said they just fell yesterday and have more to fall. It is not an easy job to peel coconut if you are not familiar with it. Even though I grew up running around coconut tree, I still can't do it. I need my beloved Vietnam veteran to do the job for me......and that he always come to rescues.
The man I love dearly in my life.
The other day dad wanted to peel two coconut for me, but I told him I needed just one, leave another one for mum making her yummy curry because I didn't know what I was going to get, so let's not waste it.
If I wanted to skip the peeling part I can do just that - bike to the market and buy the already grated coconut meat and even have them do the cold press to get the fresh coconut milk for you, it's that so convenience.
The rabbit, a coconut grater
I hand grated the meat of one small coconut with mom's 50 year old coconut grater called the rabbit or Gra-tie in Thai to grate all the coconut meat then hand squeezed it to get the white milk.
This is the old way of making coconut milk for every kitchen. I say the old way because now a day you can easily buy the already grated coconut meat fresh from the market.
After all the white meat was grated, I poured lukewarm water over grated coconut meat and kept squeezing until I got enough white milk then used a strainer to filter out the grated coconut meat.
Next step, I poured the coconut milk into a small plastic bag and tied it with elastic to secure and let it sit in a fridge for 24 hrs. The next day you'll see the coconut milk has separated into two layers which is the layer of the pure coconut milk and the layer of water that was added to make milk at the first time. It means that the coconut milk is working on process of separating the oil and the cream of coconut milk.
To this point, poke the bag where the layer of water is with some sharp knife or somethings pointy to make hole and let out the layer of water run through completely then tie the open hole with another elastic. Now what you have in the plastic bag is a pure coconut milk-almost like a cream cheese.
Put it back in the fridge for 36 hrs. more then bring it out and let it sit in the room temperature ( keep in my that I made this in Thailand where room temperature is about 87F) and you'll see that the white cream start to separate again into, maybe, two layers or three layers in some cases that's because there is still some water in it - just untie the elastic and get rid of a layer of water than pour the remain in to a bowl for an easier collecting.
Now if you take a look closely you'll see a clear layer of oil separated from the white cream completely and that is the virgin coconut oil - as clear as water, right there. Next thing you do is to carefully scoop the water-clear-like oil out of the white cream.
And that now I know why it is so pricey. One coconut makes one small dipping bowl of virgin coconut oil, so I made more, enough to bring back to NY with me. I am now applying it on my face everyday, and I just read about the Oil Pulling theory, which is VERY INTERESTING to me since I'm debating whether or not to have my bad tooth pulled out - now it's just giving me a nagging pain. I'll try the Oil Pulling theory to see if it can save my tooth.