There is nothing on a hot day when I am feeling like I am dragging like having a cold glass of fresh coconut milk from a young coconut, sometimes referred to as Thai coconut. Available at more places than ever, you can find these little young coconuts at Asian markets or even at many Walmart stores if they have a fresh produce department.
There are many claims for using young coconuts in this way, one of which is that coconut liquid is so pure that people in very remote areas have used it successfully as plasma in emergencies. I don’t know about that, but I do know that I have had a distinct pick up in energy whenever using a young coconut to make milk. It really helps boost me without any added ingredients and give me a great push when I need one.
First of all, in buying young coconuts, you need to look for something that looks like a round cylinder that has a pointed top on it- like a dunce cap. It looks like cream in color and is rather woody in appearance. Young Thai Coconuts should not make any noise at all if you shake them, if they do, then they are no good. Size does not seem to matter, although once in a while you might get one that is too young or too old and it is hard to scrape the meat out.
Once you have your coconut, keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. When you are ready to make coconut milk, you need to be sure you have:
- A heavy cleaver or heavy strong chopping knife in a similar shape that is hard and not easily broken
- A firm counter that is clear so you can whack the coconuts with the knife safely.
- A blender or ideally a Vita Mix, but blender will do fine if it is a decent one
- A strainer with fine mesh that you can pour the coconut water through to strain particles
- Glass to pour it into
Put the coconut firmly and flatly on a hard surface that will give you room to swing your knife or cleaver
Next, being careful with your hands and the knife, swing sharply into the top of the coconut, in a square shape. It is easier to take off the plastic wrap and labels, but sometimes I get lazy and don’t.
Your coconut should look like this now:
Again, it is easier to remove the plastic but sometimes I just don’t do it- silly, I know. But you will be smarter than I am, right? Once you have established the general square shape of the cuts (you may have to whack it a few times in each side to get through), then you will cut at diagonals across the corners in the same manner like this:
You may have to strike the coconut a few times in each area before you completely break through- some a really hard to get through, and others aren’t. Once you are sure you get through, stick the tip of the strong knife into the lid and try to pry it off. If it does not want to come up, you may need to strike it a time or two again, but be careful, these are very full of coconut water and you don’t want to waste any of it!
Once you lift the lid, it looks like this:
The coconut will most likely be very full. Carefully pry off the lid if you can, and then using the strainer, pour the coconut water into the blender container making sure not to get pieces of the nut in the blender. Be careful they can be really tiny!
Once you have emptied the nut, then you can start scraping. Before you do, however, double check the blender to be sure that you have not gotten any hard pieces of shell in there or woody pulp from the outside. It can ruin the whole thing if you do.
You start by taking the lid and scraping the meat off of that, checking every piece to be sure there is no sharp shell or woody pulp from the outside on each piece. If necessary, rinse under water to be sure.
Before you begin scraping, smell the meat and see the color. These can range from violet colored meat to yellow in tone. If it does not smell bad, then it will be fine. Sometimes the meat will be very white and thick and harder to get out. That is all right, it just won’t blend up as nicely- the coconut was picked a bit too late, but it is still okay to eat.
At this point, make sure you get all of the meat that you can out of the shell and off the lid being very careful to check for stray pieces of woody pulp and shell. Once you are satisfied that you have done a good job, throw the coconut shell in the compost or garbage (no, don’t put in the garbage disposal unless you are wanting a new one and your husband or wife needs a good reason to get one).
Blend the coconut water and meat in the blender or Vita Mix a minute or so and you can either add vanilla, other fun things like pineapple, or honey if you really want to, but I never make it that far. I drink it straight and love it as it is.