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Monday, January 28, 2019

How to make coconut oil by fermentation

Coconut oil is one super fat that keeps you healthy and feeling young. Its anti-aging, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties make it a one-of-a-kind power food that you can trust for almost anything.

Coconut oil, or copra oil, is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm. It has various applications. Because of its high saturated fat content, it is slow to oxidize and, thus, resistant to rancidification, lasting up to six months at 24 °C without spoiling.

How to make coconut oil
There are various methods of making coconut oil, one of which requires applying heat. To conserve resources, we’re going to be talking about the fermentation* process today.

This method ferments the coconut milk which will separate the oil out. It uses minimal heat, so you can consider it cold production/cold pressed. The quality of the oil yielded through fermentation is the highest quality I know. There is just nothing like this in the market, as far as I know. This is also the method with the least effort required.

All you need: grated coconut meat, hot water. Equipments : cloth bag, glass jug, tissues, sieves / funnels, scoop

If you can get fresh coconut milk from a machine, that will be a bit less work, then All you need : Fresh coconut milk and hot water. Equipment : glass jug, tissues, sieves / funnels, scoop

STEP 1: Preparation.

This is the most important step. It determines everything.
From my past experience, I’ve learnt the hard way (multiple failures) that you need to sterilize your equipment (with hot water or sun dry), mainly your glass jug before you do this. Some other kind of bacteria might be lurking inside, causing your fermentation to go haywire.
And I’m wary about uncooked tap water. I heard it might cause coconut milk to turn bad. So I always make sure my equipment is dry when doing this.

Remove your coconut from the shaft

You can either blend or grate the coconut meat

Squeeze out the milk.
Squeeze out the coconut milk from the grated coconut meat, I normally use a cloth bag to wring it out(like the one used to seive pap).

 Transfer the milk to the glass jug (preferably one that has a big mouth so that you can scoop out the oil easily afterwards).

To not waste, pour warm water into the dry grated coconut meat that you squeezed earlier, and wring it out again. Yes, the milk is more watery, add it into your glass jug. You can skip this step if you want.

 pour some hot water into the end result: your jug of coconut milk. This is crucial, because our fermentation requires some heat. The amount of hot water depends on how much milk you have to warm up. This step is pretty loose (I normally will just pour 1 cup or less), just make sure the entire milk becomes warm, and that is enough. How hot is hot? I normally just boil the water and leave it for 5 minutes before pouring in.

Do leave some space in the jug, because during fermentation it will rise a couple of inches. Cover the jug with a piece of tissue or cloth and tie a rubber band around it. I have heard that airtight covers work just as well, but have yet to try it, Airtight makes sense to contain the heat especially if you’re from the cooler parts of the world, however I opt to have some air ventilation for my fermentation (so that it doesn’t stink I guess), so tissue works just fine for me, as it has always

Within minutes after your prep, the coconut milk will start to separate into 2 layers: milk and water. Give it a day or two and you will see an additional oil layer. Notice I left space in the jugs so that it will not overflow when it rises during fermentation.

STEP 2 : Wait for it.
Leave your jug of milk for a day or two (or more). At first, it will start to separate into 2 layers : The curd and the water layer. 

After 12 hours or less, you will see all the curd being fermented, it will have a bubbly and more solid looking appearance and it is rising. You will know soon the oil will be coming out.

After a day or two, you will see 3 distinct layers formed, where the middle layer is the oil. Normally I harvest my oil within two days, so that it smells better. If you see the first layer of curd looking compressed and tight, and your second layer of oil looking quite clear and satisfactory in amount, that means it has separated well. It’s harvest time.
But if it’s not separating fast or well, leave it for 4 to 5 days (or even more days, just not more than 2 weeks!! or not your oil will stink. However, my advice is to keep it to a maximum of one week duration). Remember you must have 3 layers after 2 days, if you only have 2 layers, it’s just water and curd, and that is a failed attempt which you have to accept and give it to your plants, they will appreciate it.
There are 3 layers formed after a day or two.

First layer is the curd of the fermented coconut milk.
Second layer is the precious coconut oil.
Third layer is the acidic water from the coconut milk.

STEP 3 : Get your oil.
After waiting so long, it’s time to harvest. This step is basically just using common sense, so you needn’t follow it, but just to let you know how I do it.
So you scoop out the first layer of curd. You can sieve it with tissue, cause there is some more oil in it. It’s best to use good quality dining tissue / napkins so that it won’t tear.

First layer: The curd has some oil in it. If you don’t want to waste it, you can filter it with 2 layers of tissue (so that it won’t tear)

The oil will be sieved out through the tissue and into your bowl.
Then scoop out the second layer of the coconut oil. You can sieve it with a piece of tissue (preferably a soft kleenex which will sieve faster, any other is fine too). Make sure you do not touch the water layer when scooping out your oil. Your oil cannot have water, or it might turn bad.

The oil being filtered out with one layer of tissue paper. Kleenex is soft, and therefore gets the job done real quick. Any other types of tissue is ok too.

The oil being sieve out. there is some bits of curd.

Not to worry about wasting the oil that is just above the water layer (third layer). Because at the end you can scoop it out together with the water, and put it in the fridge. The oil will harden into coconut butter, while the water remains the same. Just use your hands to take out the butter which is the oil and wipe dry with tissue, so that no water is left. Because wiping dry is not 100% effective, you most likely will see some water droplets at the bottom of the oil when it has melted. Pour out the oil into your container, careful to leave out the water droplets at the bottom.

There is water(it’s murky) in the clear coconut oil. No worries, put it in the fridge, so the oil will harden. Dig out the coconut butter from the glass, and wipe dry

The coconut butter after wiping dry, can be sieved again (because I’m paranoid). Then, check whether there are remaining water droplets in the melted oil (because I’m paranoid).

Clear, unrefined, organic extra virgin coconut oil. The color is light, this means good quality.
1 tablespoon a day, will keep the doctor away. I take 3, it’s great!

*Fermentation- any of many anaerobic biochemical reations in which an enzyme produced by a microorganism catalyses the conversion of one substance into another, especially the conversion of one substance into another.

 If you still don’t get the process, feel free to drop a comment

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