I’ve been making dairy-free homemade probiotic coconut yogurt from fresh young coconuts for years now but have always kinda sorta wished that I was able to get MORE delicious yogurt per batch for my efforts. I mean, I break out “Cleve” my cleaver, the tongs, the bowls… Opening coconuts is easy for me now, but making yogurt is still a small labor of love. I know that there’s a coconut opening tool out there called a Coco-Jack that claims to make coconut opening a snap, but I haven’t tried one yet. Have any of YU? Please report with a comment below if so. I’m curious.
Anyway, a few weeks ago I had an idea: what if I could stretch each batch of yogurt by adding canned coconut milk to the fresh coconut? I know the probiotics used to start the batch love unpasteurized, “live” food (sugars). And while the young coconut meat is loaded with that, the canned may not be, but blended together? Hmm….
So, I grabbed a can of organic coconut milk, blended it with the fresh, waited a few days and success! Fermentation.
Now, I’m not a huge fan of using canned foods (I talk a little bit about that here), but for now, coconut milk is my exception when I can find organic, BPA-free canned options. If you want to stretch your batch of coconut yogurt without any canned ingredients, you can absolutely blend 1/2 cup raw, soaked almonds with 3/4 cup spring water until super smooth and blend with the young coconut meat before fermenting. I do this style of “stretching” often, too.
To learn more about fermenting and the powerful benefits of probiotic foods, check out my other immune-boosting recipes: plain kombucha, flavored kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, almond yogurt, coconut kefir yogurt and coconut kefir water.
2 large glass bowls
Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
3 young Thai coconuts
1 can of unsweetened coconut milk (not reduced fat)
1 probiotic capsule (you’ll be using the contents)
1 tsp kombucha (if you have some brewing at home)—optional
1 pint of fresh berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, wineberries)*
1-2 tbsp raw, wild-harvested honey or maple syrup to taste (optional)
*You can use frozen berries here if you like, too.
Let’s get started.
1. Open young coconuts (check out the steps here), drain the water and save it. Using a spoon, scrape out all the meat. Place into a separate bowl.
2. Try to remove as much husk as you can from the meat and strain the water if you need to. Transfer coconut meat and 1/4 cup coconut water to the blender.
3. Open your can of coconut milk, add entire contents to the blender and blend until super smooth (about 1 minute on high). If it seems too thick, you can add a bit more coconut water until you get the consistency that you like. Keep in mind that it will thicken up about 15–20% as it ferments. Also, the warmth the blender generates makes this mixture a nice temperature for the probiotics to thrive. If you let it go too long and you actually see steam, it’s too hot, let it cool a bit to warm before step 5.
4. Transfer blender contents to a sterilized (fill with boiling water and rinse), clean, glass bowl.
5. Using a dry, sterilized wooden spoon (boiled in water for 2 minutes), stir together contents of the probiotic capsule (and if you like, kombucha). Know that your mixture will thicken up as it ferments.
6. Cover with a clean towel and place in a cool, dark pantry or counter top out of direct sunlight for 1–3 days.
7. Try the yogurt on day 2 by placing a clean, dry spoon into the mixture and tasting—it should be sour and even “zingy”. DON’T double dip your spoon. If it’s as sour as you want, you can eat it now. If not, give it another day.
8. When ready to enjoy, place berries and your sweetener of choice in a blender and mix until super smooth. Feel free to leave chunks if you like them, and feel free to skip the sweetener, too. This is your yogurt, so adapt as you see fit.
9. I like to layer some berry puree into a sterilized, clean canning car with yogurt and repeat the layering until almost filled (leave room for fermentation expansion and to keep probiotics from reaching the metal lid). If you use small, single-serving jars you can have the fridge stocked for a week or two. The probiotics will be excited about the berries—they’re sugar aka food for them—so know that prepared berry yogurts in the fridge will continue to ferment. It’s a great thing.
Note: Coconuts yield different amounts of meat—so start with less coconut water and add more after you add your canned coconut milk (which also has water in it) to reach desired consistency. Save extra coconut water and use to replace plain water in homemade non-dairy milks, chia puddings and smoothies.
Hope you enjoy this discovery as much as I do!
What flavor dairy-free yogurt will you be making? What do you think of this recipe? Tell me with a comment below, I want to hear from YU.