I use coconut milk a lot. In curries, creamy sauces, my daily smoothie bowl, for baking, in dressings, in my coffee…. You get the picture. There are plenty of options for coconut milk in the store and some of them are actually a pretty good deal. I can get a 1-quart carton of So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk at my Wal-mart for $1.98. But the price isn’t what’s driving this DIY post.
Pretty much every brand of coconut milk has some type of thickener or “gum” added to make it that thick and creamy milk we all enjoy. Some brands have even worse things added but I avoid those. While the So Delicious brand is good, it still has guar gum added and while in small doses guar gum isn’t horrible, too much can cause some gastrointestinal issues.
Since I use coconut milk pretty much every day, I decided to try making my own. You guys, this is like the easiest homemade alternative milk that I have ever done. Nut milks aren’t super hard to make, but if you don’t have a fancy blender it can be time-consuming. Coconut milk is quick, simple, and pretty much any blender can handle it. Even an immersion blender. Oh yes, I tried it.
Even better, it’s also a cheap way to make coconut milk especially if you can buy your coconut shreds in bulk. So if you’re looking for a simple way to make coconut milk, look no further!
Just a heads up, though, you will need a nut milk bag or cheese cloth but that’s the only “special” equipment required for this milk. You could even get away with using a mesh sieve or strainer.
Homemade Coconut Milk
- 1 package unsweetened coconut shreds, 8 oz
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1-2 tsp sweetener of choice, optional (I left it unsweetened)
- Get out a large bowl and layer your cheese cloth or nut milk bag over it. Boil the 4 cups of water.
- Meanwhile, measure out 8 oz of coconut shreds and put them into your blender. Pour the boiling water over the coconut and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to soften up.
- Blend everything together. If you have a high-speed blender (jealous) this will take you literally 30 seconds maybe a minute. My blender took about 2 minutes. It won’t be completely smooth but you want a thick consistency.
- Pour the milk into the bowl with the bag or cheese cloth. Squeeze out all of the milk (careful if it’s still hot from the boiling water part) and transfer the milk to a pitcher or other container. It will keep in your fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Two things to note, DON’T throw away the coconut pulp! You can dry it out and use it in baking or cooking. Also, the milk will get a hard crust on it while it’s in the fridge. That’s totally fine. Just break it up and stir or shake the milk and it will be good to go!
I certainly did not invent apple butter, although that would be pretty awesome if I did. I’m also certainly not the first to put a recipe for apple butter on their blog. But I’m putting a little spin on the typical apple butter today for your DIY post of the week.
I actually had never really tried apple butter until I met Adam. His grandma sent us home from a visit once with some apple butter and it was delicious. It was smoother and creamier than applesauce and that was what I loved about it. It’s funny that Adam was technically the one to introduce me to apple butter since the man doesn’t like cooked apples! I know, he’s weird.
Anyway, most apple butter is made with a TON of sugar. Besides adding sweetness, it helps preserve the apple butter. That’s fine for some, but since I don’t do refined or much added sugar, I wanted to try an apple butter that didn’t use sugar. To me, cooked apples are already fairly sweet. Plus if you add in spices like cinnamon it ups the sweet factor. I also wanted to do something to make my apple butter even smoother. Pureed squash is really smooth and creamy plus it tends to lean toward the sweet side. And squash is just awesome in general so I thought why not add it into my apple butter.
Luckily it worked out and I ended up with a fall hybrid butter that is perfect on toast, in oatmeal, on pancakes, or on a peanut butter sandwich. It is so easy to make your own apple butter and it will cost a lot less than buying it from the apple orchard or specialty shops. So if you have a plethora of apples hanging around and want to try something a little different than your typical apple butter, give this squash apple butter a try!
Squash Apple Butter
- 5 to 6 large apples of different varieties, I used a mix of sweet and tart like granny smith and gala.
- 2 cups diced butternut squash, you could also try pumpkin or delicata
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 to 3 cinnamon sticks, optional
- 2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, optional
- 1 tsp ground cloves, optional
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon, optional
- Place sliced apples, cubed squash, and cinnamon sticks if you are using them into a slow cooker. You want to make sure you fill the cooker almost to the top leaving just a little space.
- Cook on high for 4 hours. If your apples and squash start sticking, you can use a little water. Don’t use too much because you don’t want a watery butter.
- After 4 hours, the apples and squash should be fairly soft. Remove the cinnamon sticks and smash everything else with a potato masher or fork and transfer the whole thing to a blender. You could also use an immersion blender. Puree the apples and squash until super smooth. This is important to make sure you have a smooth and creamy butter.
- Return the puree to the slow cooker and cook on high for another hour. At the end stir in the lemon juice and any spices you want.
- Allow the whole mixture to cool before you transfer to jars or other airtight containers. Store in the fridge.
I have really liked swirling this into my oatmeal in the morning. The whole thing just reminds me of fall and that makes me happy!
In other news, my little sister is getting married this weekend ( 😀 😀 😀 😀 ) and I am just a tad busy helping her with that! While I have plenty of new recipes to share with you, my Friday post will be a round-up of my favorite fall recipes around the blog world. I hope you have a great Wednesday and see you soon!