Coconut oil is prized for a variety of uses. It can be used as a topical ointment, as a hair dressing, and as a nutritional supplement. There are two methods of extracting oil from coconuts: the hot method and the cold method. Heat extraction is the less desirable method because boiling the coconuts destroys many of the nutrients. Cold pressed oil that is processed by machine also involves some machine heat, so it is best to either purchase hand-pressed oil or cold press it yourself. Cold pressed coconut oil can be extracted at home using a few household tools.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Fresh mature coconuts
- Meat cleaver
- Large bowl
- Small knife
- White mesh nylon bag
- Kitchen gloves
- Wide mouthed glass jar
- Cool dry cabinet or freezer
Choose two or three mature coconuts. It is important for the coconuts to be mature, because the older ones have more oil. A young coconut usually will not have enough oil in it to be worth pressing.
Open the coconuts. Hold a coconut in the palm of one hand. The centre of the coconut should be right in your palm. The eyes and stem should be opposite each other. With the other hand, hit the coconut with the back of a meat cleaver a couple of times, and it will crack open. Do this over a bowl so that you can catch all the coconut water, also known as coconut milk.
After the coconut is open and the coconut milk has been collected, remove the coconut meat (the white flesh inside). Take a small knife and cut out as much of the meat as you can, then grate the coconut meat with a grater.
Put the grated coconut meat into a clean white nylon mesh bag. Wearing kitchen gloves, press the coconut meat in the nylon bag, using your hands. Make sure you press it over a wide mouthed jar, to catch the coconut oil mixture.
Soak the pressed coconut meat in the jar of coconut milk. Press it again with your hands, over the jar, to extract as much milk as possible.
Let the coconut milk in the jar settle in a cool protected place; this can be a cabinet or refrigerator. After at least 10 hours, check the coconut mixture. There should be two layers in the jar, with the solidified oil layer on top and the water layer on the bottom. Scoop out the oil without disturbing the water beneath.
Tips and warnings
- Instead of storing the coconut oil mixture on a cabinet to settle, try freezing it for 24 hours. After 24 hours, take it out and remove the top curd layer. Remove the oil. This will be easy since the layers will have frozen and are therefore easy to keep separate.
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