It’s a constant mission on our farm of abundance to find a way to preserve all of the fruit that we can’t consume on a daily basis. So, in an effort to make sure nothing goes to waste, much of the time, this means making big batches of fruit concentrates for juice, dehydrated fruit leathers, raw cakes, frozen treats, and much more. Passion fruit (or as it is called in Hawaii, lilikoi), is one of the best concentrates to have on hand because just a little bit goes a very long way. With its very tart, unique, and potent flavor, it adds a lot of dimension to anything it is added to. You can also just have some handy to add small amounts with water and sweetener to create a simple juice just for drinking.
In order to make the concentrate, the seeds will be separated from the juice itself. Once processed, you will have one jar of each– one of pure juice, and the other of the seeds, which can be used for different purposes. While the directions are pretty simple and self-explanatory, for anyone who is not accustomed to preserving or working with this fruit will hopefully find it helpful.
The juice concentrate can remain refrigerated for a couple days if unused, but after that, I would highly recommend it be kept in the freezer until needed to preserve freshness and to avoid it fermenting.
- Sweetener (optional)
- Small cerrated knife
- Wire mesh strainer
- 2 glass jars
Have a mesh wire strainer placed over a bowl prepared and on hand, along with two open glass jars. Cut open each lilikoi down the middle and use a spoon to scoop the contents out into the mesh wire strainer. It’s often easier to do it in batches (about a dozen lilikoi at a time) than to try to tackle all the lilikoi in one go. Use the spoon to stir the lilikoi around in the strainer to begin extracting the juice. Keep stirring until it seems most of the juice has been separated. Pour the processed seeds into one jar and the juice at the bottom of the bowl into the other. Cut open the remaining lilikoi and repeat these steps until all the juice has been processed.
Let’s face it. Fresh coconut milk right from the source cannot be beat. The rich creaminess, the sweetness, and natural oils all serve to make this delicious nutrient-dense vegan milk one of the most flavorful ingredients to add to beverages and dishes and can serve as the base for so many things such as smoothies, soups, desserts, curries, dressings, and so much more– not to mention that it is a highly-enjoyable and filling drink to be enjoyed purely on its own. Once you have learned how to make this simple coconut milk and tasted what real coconut milk is like, it will put the canned version to shame.
This recipe will make approximately 6 to 7 cups, or one large half-gallon mason jar full of coconut milk.
- 3 ripe, hard, oily coconuts (or substitute young coconut meat)
- Your favorite sweetener (honey, agave, coconut palm sugar, cane sugar, etc)
- Wire mesh strainer
- Large bowl
- Glass jar(s)
Crack open 3 very ripe coconuts* and break the meat up into smaller pieces. Clean these pieces in a bowl of fresh water to wash off any dust or particles from the shell. Place the cleaned pieces into the Vitamix and add water until the pieces are just covered slightly by water at the top. Blend together for approximately one minute until all the coconut pieces are broken up into a fine pulp. Add a bit of extra water if necessary to blend completely. Once blended well, pour the pulp into a mesh wire strainer over a large bowl and begin to strain the milk out by stirring the pulp and pressing it down with a spoon through the strainer. Once all the milk has been extracted from the pulp, place the pulp back in the Vitamix and repeat the process of adding enough water to just cover the top of the pulp. Blend again for one minute and repeat the process of straining the pulp until all the milk is extracted. Perform both of the previous steps once more. The general rule of thumb I have discovered is that you can strain the pulp as many times as is equal to the amount of coconuts used. So for this recipe in particular, you will blend and strain a total of 3 times to get the most flavorful, creamy milk possible. You may still strain the milk more times, however, it will become much more watery and have a diminished coconut flavor.
Once you have completed these steps, you can add your favorite sweetener to taste. You will be surprised by how much natural sweetness comes out of the coconuts themselves, so you may choose to add no sweetener at all, particularly if you plan on using the milk for a savory dish. Once you have the taste to your liking, pour your finished coconut milk into a jar and there you have it– fresh milk to enjoy or to use in whatever other recipes your heart desires.
*You can also substitute young coconut meat for a thicker, creamier alternative, as the pulp will not strain out as much and make for a denser version of the milk above.