Our family doesn't drink cow's milk straight. From time to time, I make yogurt from raw milk I get from my local farmer and we do eat good cheeses. For foods where milk is required such as on granola or in porridges or just as a beverage to go with cookies, we use coconut milk. For the longest time, I had been getting the "Light" Coconut milk at Trader Joe's because it had a very short list of ingredients. When they stopped carrying it for while, I started getting the same kind of milk by the case from Amazon. But all these commercial canned coconut milks still contain guar gum of which I am not a big fan.
So yesterday I decided to finally give making it at home shot. I know that I was not about to start hunting down and prepping fresh coconut so I researched how to make it other ways. I found some recipes that make it from coconut creme (coconut butter or manna) and that was cool since I can easily get coconut creme locally. But I was more intrigued by recipes that use coconut flakes because not only can I easily get coconut flakes at Trader Joe's, I use them in a lot of different ways and almost always have it on hand.
I used this recipe, basically 1 part coconut flakes to 2 parts warm filtered water. You blend it in a blender (I have a VitaMix) and strain it using cheese cloth or a nut milk bag. It was very quick an easy and, oh my goodness, the milk is delicious. It tastes very fresh, as if I had made it from a fresh coconut.
And too add to that, it turns out that the pulp left over from making coconut milk can be dried and is what is commercially sold as coconut flour. Mind blown! I had always really disliked making milks from nuts because I could never figure out what to do with the pulp that was left over. That's not a problem at all when making coconut milk.
I spread the coconut pulp out on a sheet of parchment and stuck it in my food dehydrator. In an hour or so, it was fully dry and I had about 1/2 cup of coconut flour. I was skeptical about how it would work in my baking but I made a batch of banana chocolate muffins this morning, and it worked perfectly.
Making my own coconut milk is a win for so many reasons: no unwanted ingredients, super tasty, and very economical. I know I'm late to the party on this one, but I'm glad I finally got there!