Most people don’t know that to get virgin coconut oil one has to make coconut milk first. Fresh coconut milk is a yummy treat by itself. We are often tempted to save some coconut milk for making our favorite curries, but we always decide to keep it all for virgin coconut oil production. Here are a few pictures taken while making a recent batch.
- Fresh, mature coconuts are picked from trees, husked and cracked open.
- Coconut meat is ground with a small motorized machine.
- These small bits of coconut are full of oil.
- Ground coconut is put into mesh bags and loaded into the manual coconut milk press.
- Using a 15 ton hydraulic jack, the coconut bits are pressed and coconut milk flows out.
- After the first press, distilled water is added to the coconut bits and then they are pressed a second time to get the greatest yield. Coconut milk from the first and second presses are thoroughly mixed together. This milk will go through three more phases before we get the the final virgin coconut oil- Incubation/Settling, Siphoning/Filtration and, finally, Oil Drying.
- The twice-pressed coconut bits end up quite dry, but still contain nutrition so they are used to feed livestock in the village.