One of the first challenges of dropping dairy from your diet is finding a tasty replacement for milk. After tasting many plant milks, my first choice became Coconut Dream Coconut Drink. It tastes good but not too sweet, without the chemical aftertaste of many plant milks and without the phytoestrogens of soy milk.
But I wasn't satisfied. As tasty and convenient as this product is, it violates several Cook for Good rules:
- Save money
- Don't ship water
- Don't eat processed food
- Go as organic as you can
- Go as local as possible
I was thrilled to find out how easy and inexpensive it is to make homemade coconut milk from dried coconut. See below for a quick recipe to make your own and a comparison showing the cost, nutrition, shipping weight, and other factors that might influence your choice.
How to make homemade coconut milk
- Put 1/4 cup dried coconut and 1 cup water in your food processor or blender and give it a whirl.
- Let the mixture soak for about 10 minutes to soften, which will reduce the overall processing time needed, then process it at high speed for a minute or two.
- If you are making something like cornbread or a smoothie and don't care about the bits of coconut pulp left, you're done. Otherwise, pour the now-creamy liquid through a strainer. Use a spoon to force out as much of the liquid and flavor as you can from the coconut pulp. Use the pulp in baked goods, cereal, or a casserole.
Homemade Coconut Milk vs. Coconut Dream Coconut Drink
As you can see from the table below, you can save a lot of money and upgrade to organic by making your own coconut milk at home. This comparison uses Let's Do ...Organic's 100% Organic Shredded Coconut to make the homemade coconut milk. The nutritional values for the homemade version say "up to" in case you don't use a super-blender or eat the pulp. It probably has no Vitamin B12 or D, which are not mentioned on the label and would only come from additives.
|SMACKDOWN||homemade coconut milk||Coconut Dream Coconut Drink|
|cart cost||$3.39 for 11 cups||$3.39 for 4 cups|
|cost per cup||31 cents||85 cents|
|shipping weight per cup||21 grams||246 grams|
|ingredients||organic dried coconut
evaporated cane juice
vitamin A palmitate
|calories per cup||up to 137||80|
|total fat||up to 10 grams||5 grams|
|saturated fat||up to 9 grams||5 grams|
|sodium||up to 5 mg||140 mg|
|fiber||up to 2 grams||0|
|sugars||less than 1 gram||7 grams|
|protein||up to 1 gram||0|
|Iron||up to 2%||30%|
And the winner is .... homemade coconut milk!
Coconut Dream is a good convenience and a good starting point. I'd certainly use it while traveling. The Coconut Dream is fortified, so it has more single nutrients such as calcium and Vitamin D. Personally, I'd rather get these nutrients from a balanced diet and from taking the minimum healthy amount of supplements for B12 and D.
If you want to save money and minimize your carbon footprint, take a few minutes to make your own coconut milk at home. You can reduce waste too by making small amounts instead of always starting with 32 ounces and having to use it or freeze it within 10 days.