Everyone is going cuckoo for coconuts, these days, and it’s not hard to see why. The entire tree, from root to fruit, is used to make food, oils, rope, thatch, beauty products and much more.
The value of the coconut certainly isn’t lost on the Coconut Information Project’s Ryan Burden. He’s traveled the world learning about the plant and its uses, and now shares his knowledge through workshops at his Haiku, Maui farm and through his website, coconutinformation.com.
“Coconuts are our MVP (most valuable plant),” says Burden. “When you compare the energy it takes to grow them, versus its high output—its abundance makes it one of the most sustainable plants around.”
Coconut milk, especially, has been all the rage as a non-lactose substitute for dairy milk that's packed with natural fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. The health benefits of the coconut gets Burden going, but he’s also thrilled to share knowledge that helps others to live with a little more self-sufficiency.
“The workshops are very hands on,” he says. “The goal is to empower and to build confidence in knowing that you can provide for your family and community.”
For those looking to be a little more self-reliant, here’s Burden’s three-step recipe for fresh coconut milk.
1 brown coconut: 12–15 months.
1 or 2 middle-aged coconuts: 9–10 months. (optional)
*Learn about the different ages, types and characteristics of coconuts
*Split the coconut in half by tapping firmly around the circumference. (Tip: You can use any solid tool, but a cleaver or, even, a stone works.)
*Scrape out the meat using a coconut tool or butter knife.
*Cut into 2-inch pieces.
*Fill a high-powered blender halfway with coconut pieces and top with water. Burden recommends using water from a sweet coconut, but you can use plain H20. If you choose the latter, add a teaspoon of honey and a tiny pinch of salt. (Tip: If using water, use hot water)
*Blend on high for 30 to 45 seconds. Coconut meat is tough, so gradually increase blender to high speed.
*Strain through a nut milk bag.
*Squeeze it and work out every bit, then pour into a jar.
*Fill the jar all the way to top and keep ice cold.
The Coconut Information Project
11 Kane Pl., Haiku