Last year, when I started looking into the nutrition of our family I began reading all of this interesting information about the benefits of coconut oil. I was fascinated by this and really wanted to try some out for our family. The best place that I could find information was from Tropical Traditions, all the way from the Philippines. I thought that maybe it was a little ridiculous to ship coconut oil all the way from the Philippines when I live on an island in the Caribbean. On the Tropical Traditions website, they explained how they made the coconut oil. Always looking for an adventure, I decided to give it a try. These pictures are from different times throughout the last year that I made my own unrefined, extra virgin coconut oil. I think I have it figured out now!
The first step is to break apart the coconuts, best accomplished by banging the coconut against the concrete wall. The coconut water inside can be enjoyed as a beverage or just drained. The next step involves scraping the meat from the inside of the husk. It is a little dangerous! I am not nearly as talented as seasoned Haitian cooks who have been doing this for most of their lives. A butter knife or a flat screw driver are good tools for this job.
After you remove the meat from the coconuts, the grating of the coconut begins. This is a long process. I grated 3 coconuts last week and it took me 2 1/2 to 3 hours. (Again, my skills are rather lacking compared to other, more qualified Haitian friends). My arm muscles were a little tired!
Up next, make coconut milk by adding water to your grated coconut meat. After it sits for a few minutes, pass the liquid through a sieve, pressing firmly to express the oil from the meat.
Repeat the process one more time, to get as much oil out as possible. Place the coconut milk on the counter at room temperature for the next 12 or so hours. I don’t have a picture of this! The oil will float to the top, making the removal of the oil easy. I skim the top layer off and place it over very low heat, stirring constantly. After several minutes, the excess curds clump together, the water evaporates and you are left with a beautiful, clear oil which can be used in baking and frying.
I use coconut oil to make pop corn, fry homemade chicken nuggets and fish, and fry eggs. I want to use it in more of my baking, but the process is kind of time consuming. We will get there, eventually. The great thing is that I can be a part of every step along the way. There is no addition of any chemicals. It is all made right in my kitchen. I love that and it is something I can feel good about!