Coconut oil is a vegetable fatty oil, which is derived from copra (dry coconut kernels). The oil contains various lipids, acids, saturated fats and other important elements. Contrary to popular belief, this oil is not dangerous to your health, although it should be consumed sparingly. It is used almost everywhere: from your kitchen to your bathroom. But we will tell you more about its uses later.
There are two main methods of extracting the oil from the coconut. The first one requires the use of a hot press to extract the oil from the freshly dried pulp. The second one involves the use of a cold press.
The hot press method is more efficient, as it allows you to get almost all of the oil out. However, it destroys a lot of the good qualities of the oil. The cold press method is way less efficient, as you only get about 10% of all the oil you can get. Nevertheless, this method helps save the useful properties of coconut oil. Which is why the oil obtained from the second method is significantly more expensive than the other one.
What you will need:
- 3 ripe coconuts;
- power tools (drill or a screwdriver and a hammer);
- a tea towel;
- 3 bowls (one large and two medium-sized);
- a sharp knife (preferably small);
- a vegetable peeler;
- a food processor or blender;
- 1 cup of clean water per each coconut (3 in total, use non-chlorinated water);
- a clean mesh strainer/unbleached cheesecloth;
- a sieve;
- a ladle;
- a Pyrex dish;
- a glass jar for storage (sterilize the jar and the dish before use)
In the end, you will get about half a cup of coconut oil.
Step 1. Drain your coconuts by drilling 2-3 holes on top of each one. You can use either a drill or a combination of a screwdriver and a hammer. Pour the coconut water into one of the bowls you prepared for later use.
Step 2. After draining the coconuts, crack them open. To prevent injury, wrap the coconuts in the small towel (one by one, not all at once!) and smash them with you hammer. Use all the force you can muster. After a few hits, you should be able to crack the shell and see the white insides.
Step 3. Grab your sharp knife and start separating the white flesh from the husk. After that, remove the brown skins with your peeler. You should end up with the white flesh, coconut water and the coconut husk. Discard the husk and keep the rest.
Step 4. Wash your coconut with clean filtered water and put it in your blender or food processor. Pour the coconut milk over the coconut flesh and blend for some time on high speed. You can stop when the two are well combined and have a fine texture.
Step 5. Take your blended coconut out and put it in your large bowl. Pour your clean non-chlorinated water over the coconut and get ready to get your hands dirty. Grab a fistful of coconut and squeeze it as hard as you can. Mash all of the coconut mixture for about half an hour, until the water it is floating in resembles milk. Leave it for several hours.
Step 6. Use your ladle to scoop the pulp into the mesh-covered sieve. Leave it for a little bit to drip, then squeeze it to separate the liquid from the coconut flakes completely. Place the flakes in one bowl and leave the liquid in the other. You can use the flakes in cooking (consider making French macarons) or grind them into flour. You can also use them as a fertilizer.
Step 7. Cover the bowl with the liquid (which is coconut milk, by the way) and put it away for a day or two. If you live in a hot environment, it is best to place it in the fridge. If not, a dark corner in the room will do.
Step 8. After a while, the mixture in your bowl should separate. You should be able to see three (more or less) distinct layers: the cloudy liquid at the bottom, the solid middle of the actual coconut oil and the top layer of cream.
Step 9. Remove the top layer. You can use it as a non-dairy cream or coconut cheese. Filter the rest through a strainer or a cheesecloth. Alternatively, you can wait until the excess liquid evaporates. Just cover your bowl with plastic wrap with a hole to let the air in and out.
Step 10. Scoop your oil in your glass jar, and it is ready to be used
Excerpts from naij.com