Before I get into how to make coconut oil, hop over to my first post on How to Make Coconut Milk from Scratch. It explains some steps you will need to follow to make pure coconut oil. So check that out.
I used heat to make the oil here, so it isn’t cold-pressed or extra virgin. It’s simply pure coconut oil.
How to Make Coconut Oil – Decisions, Decisions
First things first. Decide how much coconut oil you want to make. That will determine how many brown coconuts you should buy. Usually, one brown coconut gives me around two ounces of coconut oil. So four coconuts should make one cup of oil.
If you are trying this for the first time, make small batches just to get the hang of it. Separating coconut meat from the shell is arduous. And working with 4 or 8 coconuts can be daunting as a newbie. When you get the hang of it and become a pro, it’ll get easier.
The second thing is a little odd; but my mom absolutely swears by it. She makes coconut oil “on or around the day of full moon because you’ll get a better yield then“… It’s an old East Indian saying that has been passed down; and she completely agrees. Sometimes, when she’s making oil twice for the month, she’ll make her second batch “on or around the day of the new moon“. She doesn’t get as much though…
She’s been making coconut oil for many years and I’ve seen the differences in yield with my own eyes. So I believe her.
How to Make Coconut Oil: Ingredients & Equipment
The only ingredient you need is brown coconuts. Remember four makes a cup of oil and eight makes two cups.
For equipment, you’ll need:
- hammer or cleaver
- juicer (or blender or grater)*
- large bowl
- strainer or cheese cloth
* When it comes to making coconut oil, using a juicer is my preferred equipment choice. You saw I like adding water and using the blender to make coconut milk. That’s because I like the milk a bit thinner. But for oil, the less water used in the process, the better.
How to Make Coconut Oil – Steps
1. Crack open brown coconuts
Strike the center of your coconut (perpendicular to the grain) a couple times until it cracks and coconut water flows out. Pull the two sides apart and check the coconut meat. It should be hard, white and have the slightest coconuty smell. Discard the coconut if the meat is slimy or has a foul smell.
2. Remove the coconut meat
Insert a paring knife between the meat and the shell. Twist the knife to dislodge the meat for easy removal.
There are other easier ways to remove coconut meat. You can try a manual coconut scraper or electric ones too. You can find them all on Amazon.
3. Juice the meat
Cut your coconut meat into smaller pieces and add them to your juicer. Out will come coconut milk on one side and the other will have finely grated coconut meat. Usually, I add the finely grated coconut meat back into the juicer for a second pass. Doing this helps to get as much liquid out as possible.
You can add water to the meat and mix thoroughly before adding again to the juicer. But I prefer not to add water to the milk.
The traditional way of making the milk involves grating the meat finely, adding water and squeezing the meat before straining everything out. It is labor intensive and time consuming. Who has the time, nowadays? But if you don’t own a juicer, don’t let that stop you! You got this!
4. Wait for the cream to rise
Place the coconut milk in a wide bowl and leave it overnight. If you are in a more tropical climate like I am (or it’s summer), place the bowl in the fridge. If it’s colder where you are, you can leave the milk on the counter. Keeping the milk cool helps the cream to separate and prevents the milk from going bad.
5. Skim the cream
The cream usually hardens on the surface making it easy to skim. Add the cream to a small pot. If you get liquid or a little water in the pot, don’t worry. Everything is sorted out in the next step. If the cream doesn’t fully harden, that’s ok too. Add it to the pot.
Any clear liquid below the cream can be discarded or used to water your indoor plants. Heh!
6. Heat the cream
Place the small pot on low heat. The cream will melt and start to curdle. When this happens, the cream will begin to release pure coconut oil. Stir often when this happens to ensure even heating and to prevent the particles from sticking and burning at the bottom of the pot.
I heated the cream for about 10 to 15 minutes. But you can leave it for longer. In fact, the longer you leave the pot on, the more oil will be released. But the curdle particles may start to brown, and the oil will develop a light yellow color. That’s ok though! As the oil cools, it’ll become white again.
After 15 minutes (or more if you so choose), strain the oil to remove the cooked curdle particles… And that is it… 100% pure beautiful coconut oil!
The oil will last several months unrefrigerated; even in this tropical climate. And if you keep it in the fridge, it’ll last many, many months.
Notes on How to Make Coconut Oil
This is how I make the oil. It guarantees pure oil, 100% of the time. I’ve tried to make virgin coconut oil before where no heat is used. But it never worked. The milk always spoiled and oil never separated. And let me just say, spoiled coconut milk smells terrible… It’s so bad.
I’ve found using a juicer to extract milk is the most efficient and effective way. Its milk yield is amazing. The bits that remain are so dry! You can drop them into your cakes for a nice coconut flavor. Or spread them out on a baking tray and place them in the sun for an hour or two (or pop them in the oven on low heat). When they’re done you can grind them up to make coconut flour… Your very own homemade gluten-free flour!
If you don’t have a juicer, that’s completely fine. Use your blender and a little water to it. Then strain and squeeze all the milk out of the meat. And continue with steps four through to seven.
The cooked curd particles you get at the very end can also be used too. I like to use them in my foot scrubs. They tend to be abrasive and still have a lot of oil in them. So they’re exfoliating and moisturizing at the same time! Maybe I’ll do a coconut scrub post sometime to show you.
That’s the beauty of coconuts. Everything can be used. Nothing is wasted.
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If you liked this post, then you’ll love these how to make posts. Check them out, why don’t ya!