Homemade Coconut Milk

When I first eliminated dairy from my diet several years ago in order to manage some health problems that had crept up, and soon after this starting the GAPS diet, I pretty much avoided anything with milk (any kind of milk—dairy or non-dairy). Then a year or so in, I began tinkering with canned coconut milk for smoothies and ice cream and got really good results. But I still didn’t use it for anything else, mainly because I didn’t like having to open a can every time I needed a small amount of milk for a recipe.

Coconut Milk

Around this time, I tried once to make my own coconut milk. It didn’t turn out so well (a total flop), so I just gave it up and kept using the canned coconut milk here and there. Looking back, I realize I should have given it another go because it’s really quite easy and cheaper than buying canned coconut milk.

Now, I will insert here that I still like using canned coconut milk for certain things because the consistency is a bit thicker (more creamy), which works better for things like ice cream. But the homemade version is perfect to use in any recipe that requires milk and I love it in smoothies as well.

So what are the benefits of making your own? Like I mentioned above, the biggest benefit is that it’s cheaper. Secondly, you can avoid any additives that are included in many canned coconut milk brands.

And even if you still consume regular dairy, using coconut milk as a substitute every now and then is a good way to get more coconut in your diet (more on the health benefits of coconut coming soon!).

All you need to get started is 1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut flakes, filtered water, and a blender. That’s it! Directions are listed below.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing lots of ways to use this kind of milk. But you probably don’t need any help with that…

Homemade Coconut Milk
(makes approximately 4 cups)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
4 cups filtered water

Combine ingredients in a blender and allow to soak for 2-3 hours (optional—can omit if time doesn’t permit). Blend on high for several minutes (usually at least 4-5). Stop in between to scrap down the sides and test consistency. When finished, strain milk through a fine sieve; discard remaining pulp (or you can dehydrate this pulp to make coconut flour). Store milk in refrigerator and use within 4-5 days.

What is your favorite way to use coconut milk?

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Homemade Chicken Broth

One of the key discoveries I’ve made on my journey with real food was making broths from scratch. Not only are there many health benefits to homemade broth, but it just tastes good. No, I mean, REALLY good. And you can use it in so many ways—for sauces, gravies, stews, casseroles…the possibilities are endless.

chicken broth 3So, what’s the big deal with broth made from scratch? Why not just buy it from the store?

First, homemade broth is more nutritious. It just is. Here’s a quick summary of health benefits from properly prepared broth:

  1. It is loaded with minerals and electrolytes.
  2. It is full of gelatin, which greatly aids digestion and helps heal the gut lining.
  3. It helps reduce inflammation in the gut and body.

For more information, see Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon or the Weston A. Price website

Ok, you get it. It’s good for you. But it still seems like a lot of work…and time…and energy…(this was a big concern for me at first). Well, there’s good news on that front too. Yes, broths do typically have a long cook time but the part that you actually do? Really short.

And what about the cost? It’s surprisingly cheap to make chicken broth. Buy a couple pounds of bone-in chicken pieces or even just use the meaty chicken bones that were leftover from dinner last night (just stick them in the freezer until ready to prepare the broth).

Hopefully you are convinced at this point, or at least willing to give it a try, so I’ll just get on to the how-to.

This is what you’ll need to get started:

  • 1 whole chicken (or 2-3 pounds of chicken pieces, bone-in), preferably pastured, cage-free
  • 2 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice
  • Filtered water to cover
  • Carrots, celery, onion (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Place chicken, water, salt, pepper, veggies (if using) and vinegar in a stock pot or crock pot and let it stand for 20-30 minutes.

*A note on the water: When I first began making broth, the one thing that I found most difficult was figuring out how much water to use. I would always “cover” the chicken, but it seemed like it was too watery in the end. It took me a bit to figure out that less is more when it comes to the water. Just barely cover the chicken, or even partially cover it. You can always add more later if needed.

Chicken broth 1

Cover and bring to a boil. Once at boiling point, reduce heat to simmer. Allow it to simmer for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours. The longer it simmers the better, both for nutrients and flavor. Once finished, drain the broth into a storable container; discard the veggies and retain the chicken to use for salads, soup, etc.

A really good broth will have a jelly-type texture once refrigerated (hence, the beneficial gelatin). However, if it doesn’t, you can add gelatin to it (here’s a good kind) and then the next time around, try using less water. This has solved the problem for me in the past.

Chicken broth 2If you aren’t going to use the broth immediately, you can store it in the freezer. I typically use mason jars (filled half way) but you could also just use ziplock bags or other freezer-safe containers.

And that’s all it takes!

What are some ways you use chicken broth when cooking? Please share!




This post was shared at Homestead Barn HopPennywise Platter Thursday, The HomeAcre HopSimple Meals Friday,