Saturday, June 30, 2012

Homemade Virgin Coconut Oil

Upper left, coconuts from our trees. Oil from the grated
coconut on upper right. Bottom left, we reuse the shells as
bowls, bases for planters or lampshades. The husks, lower
right, we soak in water then wrap them around our orchids.
I have been reading about all the health benefits of virgin coconut oil. I bought a bottle last year and started cooking with it. It has a higher burn temperature than olive oil. It's a bit pricey so after realizing we had so many coconuts on the property, I looked up how to do it online and decided to give it a go. Voila, we made our first batch a couple of months ago.

First you grate the coconuts, I didn't have to do this part, our handy house helper Shalla was used to doing it in her province for her family, so she cheerfully volunteered for this task.

The grater we used is a simple rounded metal bar with V shaped burrs cut into it. Our other helper Jhun then nailed it to three scrap boards so they could sit on it.  Shalla and Jhun took turns grating away. This tool is sold in almost all native markets in the Philippines. If you don't live here, you will have to improvise if you plan on doing this for yourself. Frankly, if I had to go buy the coconuts and do this, it wouldn't be worth it and would probably be cheaper to just buy at a health food aisle of your supermarket or a health food store itself should carry this by now.

You can use these same steps for making coconut milk for use in cooking or instead of milk or cream in your coffee. After squeezing out the milk, set it aside and then use immediately in the dish you want to cook. It's delicious in curries!

When vco is warm it is clear like water, but when the temperature drops, it becomes a solid white. This is completely natural, so don't freak out if this happens to your vco.

These coconut grating tips can be found in almost all native makets in the Philippines. Our helper Jhun then nailed it to
three scrap pieces of wood.
This is what the whole rig looks like. Pretty simple.

Shalla grating the coconuts into a stainless steel bowl.
About 8 coconuts made this much. I think put about 3 cups at a time in my 600 watt blender along with 1 cup water that and 1 cup of the 2nd pressing of coconut milk came out of the coconuts.

We then poured the blended coconut meat into muslin cloth. You don't have to put the stuff in a blender, but doing so allows more of the milk to be extracted since the meat becomes more pliable and easier to squeeze the milk out of. I've read that freezing the non grated part or grated meat before blending it allows even more oil to be extracted as the meat gets even softer to squeeze, but my freezer is too full of hard to get stuff so I haven't tried that yet.

We then just simply twisted and twisted until not one more drop of coconut milk would come out and dumped the dry gratings into another bowl. The plastic tub in the back is where we put the coconut milk to separate for a little more that 24 hours since it's on the cool side with the rains here. If you just want to use the coconut milk for cooking or for use in coffee instead of mild, then stop at this point and use the coconut milk in recipe you are cooking as soon as possible. Because it is not homogenized, the milk soon separates from the water. If this happens just scoop the milk out and put it in the fridge. Coconut milk spoils quickly is hot weather so its best to use the milk right away.
We put the milk in a sterilized plastic tub for 24 hours. After only an hour, since it's warm here, about 78F today, the milk has begun to separate from the whey, or coconut water and is now floating on top. After 24 hours or longer if it needed, there will be three layers. The oil will be below the scum or froth at the top. We skim that carefully and put it aside, then carefully spoon the Virgin coconut oil off the top of the water. We then heat the scum, not t boiling and leave that to set and extract even more oil from the froth. The coconut water left below, will be put in bottles to be fermented into coconut vinegar.

This is the whole tub, not quite filled yet.

This is the scrap coconut meat after pressing or squeezing the milk out.  It makes a good soil conditioner and we sometimes add it to our planters. Most of the time though, our chickens enjoy it so much we give it to them.
The chickens enjoying the squeezed out coconut gratings. This time too much of the brown inner skin was mixed up with the white coconut meat. When we get just the grated coconut meat without the inner brown hard skin, I slow roast the squeezed out gratings in a cast iron pot till it's a rich light brown and then throw in raw brown sugar till it caramalizes. We then put this on our ice cream or in a local desert called suman.
There you have it, a nice project for a rainy day!

Health benefits of virgin coconut oil are:

"The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of coconut oil are attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc." From this website:

It's also good for the immune system, the heart, kidneys, digestion etc. Click on the link above, as that website has a whole list and more details of the health benefits of virgin coconut oil.

I use the oil in cooking and now take a tablespoonful a day.  I have already seen the difference in my skin from using it all over my body after a shower and on my face.

Here's another blogger who makes her own toothpaste using virgin coconut oil and other ingredients!


Zumi said...

Wow by looking and reading at the photos it seems that Shalla really had a great time in doing that kind of interesting job. Making or producing a virgin coconut oil was not easy and it takes a lot of time and effort. You did a good job. :) Thanks.

Zummi | sustainability Philippines

Mamun said...

For many centuries, our ancestors have used coconut oil in their daily lives.Virgin Coconut Oil Based in Oxfordshire, Eden of Essence provide pure organic extra virgin coconut oil to a range of wholesalers and health food shops across the UK. Buy online or call 0800 458 2928.

- said...

Hi Ms. Diana.

This is really interesting. I am excited to try this at home as well. I just have some few clarifications, I hope you'll be able to find time to answer, thanks in advance!

#1 Do you cover the coconut milk when you let it stand for 24 hours?

#2 Will the oil (in the second layer) also be heated, or it is only the froth/ scum that is heated to get more oil?

#3 Is it easy to spoon the oil on top of the water? Is it necessary to make sure that no coconut water mix with the oil while you spoon it, if yes, how do you make sure that you are only scooping the oil without the water?

#4 How long do you heat the scum to get the oil, and what is the ideal temperature or heat setting?

# 5 How do you make vinegar from the water?

Thank you very much!


Diana Limjoco said...

Yes it's best to cover the coconut milk when you set it out for 24 hours to keep it clean.

#2 We do not heat the first batch...only the scum on a low temp to extract the rest of the oil from it.

#3 You have to spoon out the froth or scum on top and set it aside and it's quite time consuming to take the oil off the water that is left on the bottom. If you get a little of the water it's not a problem....You can pour it through cheese cloth and it will absorb the water. (cheesecloth or katcha)

#5 We leave the water in the tubs until it help it ferment you can already add 1/2 cup of any other suka to help it go faster.

- said...

Thank you very much Ms. Diana. Appreciate your response. God bless!

katherin george said...

thanks for the very clear description and pics. about how much oil do you get from how many coconuts? i realize their size varies a lot but just a general idea would be helpful. where i live both coconuts and coconut oil are expensive, but it might still be cheaper to make than buying depending on the yield.