Homemade Coconut Milk

The boys and I made a sad, sad trip yesterday. One of my favorite local grocery stores is going out of business.

We stopped by to see the reality with our own eyes during yesterday’s errand run, and it is undeniable–the bakery, deli, meat, seafood, and freezer sections are completely vacant. The produce section is apparently the next target, because the prices in that area were SLASHED. While I’m totally bummed about the store closing, I’m NOT bummed about getting a ton of apples for $0.99/lb, a 3lb bag of oranges for $1.99, a nice pineapple for $1.50, and two coconuts for $1 each!

Wait…two coconuts? How did those end up in my basket?

What in the world was I thinking? Oh…right…I was channeling my inner homeschool mom.

“Won’t this be a fun and educational thing to do?!? The kids will be fascinated to see the processing of a fresh coconut!”

I also had read on Spartan Race’s Food of the Day email about using fresh coconuts…so I guess it was just all working together to cause my impulse buy. 🙂

Regardless of HOW I made it home with two coconuts, the fact remains that they were sitting on my table.

First, we used a CLEAN screwdriver and a hammer to open the coconuts, and then we collected the coconut water from inside.

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Then we used the hammer to crack them open. A quick taste of the coconut meat and coconut water sent the boys running for a glass of water to get rid of the taste! Hmmm….that could be a problem.

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Naturally…I consulted Google, and came across this site which gave instructions for making coconut milk! Three out of four members of our family are sensitive to cow’s milk and usually drink almond milk instead, so coconut milk is certainly something that I was interested in trying.

Simplified instructions: Process the meat of one coconut, the coconut water from that same coconut, and two cups of boiling water for about 5 minutes. If desired, add sweetener to taste in the last minute of processing. I had to split this into two batches in my 7 cup food processor. 

I knew that we would only be using the coconut milk for drinking and in sweet recipes (like smoothies), so I added a bit of sweetener to make it more tasty. One coconut produced almost a full quart of milk.

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Of course, it didn’t ALL make it into the jar because the boys kept sneaking sips from the bowl with their straws while it was still warm from the processing… 🙂 Sounds like success to me!

After squeezing out the milk, we were left with a bowl full of finely ground, slightly sweetened coconut meat. I’m going to use some of it in muffins, and I’ll freeze the rest for later use. You can also apparently dry it to make coconut flour, but since I had sweetened it I chose not to go that route.

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Overall, I’m thrilled with the results! I still have one more coconut to process, but I may try freezing the meat and coconut water until we’ve used up the first batch since the milk only lasts a few days in the fridge (no preservatives!). You can’t beat getting a quart of preservative-free coconut milk and about two cups of minimally processed coconut meat for $1!

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Check back tomorrow, when I’ll post my delicious new smoothie recipe featuring our fresh coconut milk!

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Blueberry Picking

About a year ago, I found out that there is a U-Pick Blueberry Farm in our area–Leavelle Farms! I was so excited…until I realized that it was already closed for the year. 😦 Bummer. I was determined not to miss it again, though, so I “liked” their Facebook page to make sure I was notified when they reopened.

They opened in mid-June, and I kept trying to schedule a trip out there…and kept having conflicts come up. I’m actually glad that I didn’t get to go sooner, because Michael was able to go with us when we finally got to go! Woohoo! I love a family adventure!

We headed out mid-morning on Saturday. We arrived to find the weather pleasant and the sky overcast–perfect berry-picking weather!  The farm was perfect–plenty of bushes with lots of berries, easily accessible bathroom (essential for a pleasant outing with kids), friendly owners, and only $6 per GALLON of berries you pick! We picked and picked…even through a rain shower. We all got a bit wet, but we also left with a full gallon of berries to enjoy.

It was a wonderful day, but I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves…

(I apologize for the focus issues in some my pictures. I’m still working on getting used to my camera, and I get in too much of a hurry sometimes.)

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Note that the focus here is on the bush, not the adorable face…should’ve switched to manual mode… 😉

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Note that NOTHING is in focus here…I like to call this one “auto-UNfocus”

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Marked improvement. I love this shot.

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All of my guys working together…smile.

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And finally, my little drowned rat. 🙂 Sweet boys, sweet berries, and sweet memories. You can’t beat that.

We had so much fun that I gathered up my mom, my niece and nephew, and our awesome neighbor friends and went back on Monday! We gathered another 4 gallons between the three families! There are now 12 quarts of berries in the freezer to get us ALL through the winter with muffins, cobblers, and other blueberry dishes. 🙂

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I’ll have to share my recipe for blueberry cobbler that came out of this adventure soon, too. 🙂 Yum!!