The answer YES. The trick to eating a well balanced, whole foods lifestyle is stocking up a well rounded pantry and learning to make things from scratch. Who needs to spend over $3 for 64 ounces of coconut, almond, and/or rice milk when it's incredibly easy to make at home for a fraction of the cost. When I first started making my own milks I was shocked at how easy it was. Not to mention the shock I felt at how much money I'd spent over the years buying non-dairy milks at the store. So this is your warning....you may be a little shocked at how easy it is to make your own homemade coconut milk. Sorry about that. But now you know.
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2-3 cups water (adjust to taste) (less water=thicker coconut milk)
Add coconut and water to blender. Blend for 1 minute. Strain the milk through cheesecloth or a specific nut milk bag. It takes a little bit of gentle squeezing to strain the milk. Squeeze until all liquid is released and your left with just a bit of pulp. There are lots of ways to use the leftover pulp. Baked goods are a good way to use it up. Store milk in air tight container (mason jars are great). Or pour a big glass of milk. Drink. Love. Smile. Enjoy.
This is also a great milk for toddlers who are done nursing and you want to introduce another milk. Most doctors will push for cow's milk but this is a great alternative if your kiddo has a sensitivity to dairy or you don't want to introduce animal products. Keep in conversation with a health care provider to make sure your little one is getting a balanced diet but don't be afraid to suggest to the Dr. that you don't want to do traditional milk. There are plenty of other ways to get the fats and proteins and vitamins into a toddler's diet. I would even argue you always want a toddler's (unless nursing) main source of liquid to be water not milk. The milks are an extra. But that's just my opinion.
I use this milk even more than almond or rice milk. I love the taste. I use it for baking (on the rare occasion that I do get around to baking anything). It's also my first choice if I'm making a hot cocoa. Great in smoothies and desserts. I've also been playing with it in my homemade vegan ice creams. The less water used in the recipe the thicker the milk is. Lots of versatility with this lovely coconut milk.
My girls love drinking this coconut milk as is. I just made them their first chocolate milk last week using this milk. I added dates, dark baking cocoa, splash vanilla, and a bit of raw honey. I ended up making more for myself and my husband. Divine.
I find unsweetened, organic shredded coconut at my local health food store in the bulk section. This bag cost under $4 and I can make several batches of coconut milk from it.
one I purchased and love. It is absolutely worth the $9 if you plan to make milk on a consistent basis. Just think, that $9 couldn't even buy 3 boxes of coconut milk beverage at the store. Puts things into perspective, right?
It is sometimes more convenient to buy store bought milks and have them on hand. It is easy. No one can argue that convenience is a fabulous thing. And really it's not realistic, at least in my world, to make everything from scratch. BUT if your on a tight budget and trying to figure out how to eat well and at the same time lower grocery expenses this is one way to do it my friend.
The other perk to making homemade milks is that they aren't processed. Something to remember is the stuff in the store is great because yes it's dairy-free, gluten-free goodness but it's still a processed food product. A healthier processed food than most but still processed none the less. By making your own versions at home you know exactly what goes into the product you are creating. There are no extras. There is no heating process to keep it shelf stable. No need for extra packaging and shipping, which becomes friendlier to our sweet environment. If you add sweeteners you can adjust them to taste and keep them to a minimal. You simply blend a few organic ingredients up and viola', the best, freshest tasting milk you'll ever have.
Happy Milk Making!