Thursday, 10 June 2010

homemade coconut oil

Anyone with access to a coconut, a grater, and a stove can make coconut oil. And I recommend anyone try it, it's time consuming but really educational in that it proves once and for all why coconut oil is such a luxury and so expensive.

Ideally you'll want fully mature coconuts, the heavy ones that don't sound full of liquid. Open, save the liquid, remove and grate the flesh. The easiest way to do this is by using a juicer like a Champion (we have a Jack LaLarres). If you don't have a juicer then a blender or food processor works too. We use a coconut grater from the south pacific which looks like a rising sun.
Grate the coconut. If you use a juicer it will separate the coconut cream from the meat. If you use anything else you will get a nice moist pile of shavings mixed with liquid. Mix this pile with a small amount of water, mix thoroughly and then squeeze the liquid from the flesh. I use an old pillowcase. You want to use the minimum amount of water as it will be cooked out later and will just lengthen the cooking time. Squeeze as hard as you can to get as much of that lovely milk out. Save the flesh for baking, or for curries, or for the dogs. It's important to have helpers clean the coconut shells:

Whichever method you use, let the milk sit for several hours, preferably overnight (in the fridge is fine too). This allows the milk to separate, skim the cream from the surface and put in a pot. If you get some of the milk too it's not a problem, you'll just make coconut cheese. I always skip this step as I am impatient and I love coconut cheese.

Bring the cream / milk to a slow boil stirring ALL the time. Reduce to a simmer and stir. Now you will wonder why you used so much water. Stir, stir, stir.

Gradually the water will evaporate, the cream will thicken to a slushy paste like consistency and you will be bathed in coconut steam. Keep stirring. Slowly the cream will begin to separate and you will see the beginnings of the oil, it will puddle around the edges at first. Keep stirring.

More and more of the coconut cream will become oil. Curds of coconut cheese will begin to form, these will be small separate chunks, almost the same shape as cottage cheese curds but less than half the size. At some point you will notice that there's no more oil forming and the cheese is beginning to change colour. Remove from heat, allow to cool and pour through a sieve to filter out the cheese. Store the coconut oil in a wide mouthed jar in the fridge, eat the cheese! The cheese is an excellent addition to baked potatoes, salads, actually anything savoury. It's the closest a vegetarian could get to crispy bacon. It's very good, the only place I've heard it being sold is Hawaii, but it must be available elsewhere. I do hope you make this and I do hope you enjoy it. If you do, please leave me a comment!


  1. Thanks Ancel, I will try it out as soon as I find suitable are always full of such good ideas and instructions. Thanks for the time you put into helping others learn new things!

  2. Ancel,

    you have me wishing I had time and a coconut! I can hardly wait to try this when we go back to Belize in October. Do the curds get crispy? or do they stay soft like cottage cheese curds?


  3. Angie,
    are you all home and settled now? How's life? When is the blog up and running??

    Why wait? The curds don't get crispy unless you really burn them, and I don't think you will. They stay soft, and almost melt in one's mouth. I'm off to the fridge to have a 1/4 teaspoon now - so good but oh so rich!

  4. I have been thinking of making coconut oil for the longest time (about 10 years). Now I see how easy it is I will attempt to make it. Thank you for posting the recipe. I have loads of dry coconuts knocking around I just have to get someone to husk them for me. I can just manage one or two.

  5. Ancel,
    I will send you a long version e-mail, but we are working hard to get settled. Had a tragedy with my favorite plum tree and some other unfortunate discoveries but we are slowly gaining control. Daniel goes next week for another brain procedure, my guts are all twisted up about it. I will write more via e-mail. Thanks for your concern.

  6. Oh Angie,
    our thoughts and prayers are with you! I'll write you an email too!

    much love,

  7. Hey ciao!
    I wanted to try homemade coconut oil...I've got time and coconuts! Not as good as a Asian Coconut but it's fine! Im in Brisbane, Australia! But I'm Italian.
    Now I'm going to get some coconuts...tonight I'll make it! I'll let you know!

    Oh by the way I loved the way you explained it! :) The dog? So sweet!!!


thanks for sharing!