This past summer, I discovered how easy it is to make homemade almond milk. Ever since then, I have been happily soaking my almonds and preparing almond milk every week to use when baking, in smoothies and for delicious hot chocolate. Not long after mastering this process, I came across a recipe that called for coconut milk. Since I was already making almond milk to avoid the preservatives in the store-bought variety, I figured I could try my hand at coconut milk as well. Besides, how much harder could it be to make at home? Well, the truth is making coconut milk is even easier than almond milk and it has a creamy consistency and a delicious taste!
For me, the most important aspect of making homemade coconut milk is that I avoid all of the preservatives in the processed boxed versions you find at your local market. Particulalry disturbing is carrageenan (a common food additive that is extracted from a red seaweed), which is linked to gastrointestinal inflammation, lesions, and even colon cancer. Another thing to watch out for in canned coconut milk is Bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA, a known endocrine disruptor, is used in the lining of many canned foods and can leach into foods, especially foods containing fats like coconut milk.
Ok, that’s enough with all of the bad stuff! Now, on to some of the health benefits of homemade, preservative free, coconut milk. Coconut milk is easy to digest and contains an abundance of nutrients including vitamins C and E, many of the B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, selenium and iron. Vitamins C and E help to boost the immune system and B vitamins are responsible for providing energy to cells. In addition, magnesium helps to calm nerves and maintain normal blood pressure and selenium is an antioxidant which may relieve arthritis symptoms. Coconut milk is also rich in lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that has many germ-fighting, antiviral and antibacterial properties that are effective at ridding the body of viruses, bacteria and other illnesses. The lauric acid in coconut milk also helps to keep HDL (good cholesterol) levels high which is desirable to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
One final note, I use Nutiva coconut manna, which is pure coconut flesh, to make the milk in this recipe. You can purchase it here. Enjoy!
- 1 cup of organic coconut manna (I like Nutiva brand)
- 4 cups filtered water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (raw honey or a few medjool dates also work well as a natural sweetener)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Place the jar of coconut manna (with the cover removed) in a pot with enough water to half submerge the jar.
- Heat on the stove (at a low simmer) until the manna becomes soft and you can stir it easily (coconut manna is solid at room temperature).
- Make sure you only heat the manna enough to mix it - be careful not to cook the manna.
- Add the manna, water, maple syrup and vanilla to a blender and blend on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
- Optional - for a smoother texture strain the coconut milk through a nut milk bag.
- Store in the refrigerator.