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all about coconuts

One of the best things about spending some time standing still for a while is opportunity to cook and play in a real kitchen. Living in the tropics, as I do, I am surrounded by coconut trees which probably pose a far greater hazard to my safety than camping out in the wilds but they do have the benefit of being pretty tasty and useful.

Chure, a local lad, taught me and Carolina, a long term resident of Blue Zone, how to make coconut oil.

First, coconuts, of course. These ones have already had the tough outside husk removed which is a lengthy and difficult task.

Next, crack them open. This is pretty easy with a machete. Hold the coconut in one hand and firmly tap the coconut along the 'equator' with the machete while rotating it. Sooner or later you hear a change in the sound the machete makes as a crack starts to form and then you can split the coconut in two.

Gratuitous coconut and chicken shot.

Next, start grating.

This grater is put together using a piece of metal with vicious teeth filed into it nailed to a board that you can sit on.

Churre makes pretty short work of it. Both Carolina and I put some effort in but I carelessly cut myself on the savage teeth and Carolina was deemed to slow.

It takes twelve coconuts to produce a litre of oil, apparently. Ours were pretty small and I think we used more than twelve and got less than a litre.

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When the coconuts start to sprout they develop a strange substance - a little like white honeycomb - in the centre. It is sweet and very perfumed, but not at all bad to eat.

Done.

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Once grated you add water and squeeze the milk out of the coconut. Then strain the solids out and leave it overnight so that the cream rises. In the morning skim off the cream.

Heat the cream in a saucepan stirring pretty much constantly until it separates. The oil is light and more or less clear and the solids start off creamy grey. When the solids are golden brown it's done. Strain it and there you have it.

{ 1 } Comments

  1. Will Kemp | October 6, 2012 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    The fruit that grows inside a sprouted coconut is known as “angel fruit” in Australia (in far north Queensland, at least).

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