How to Make Coconut Oil

The other day I learned how to make virgin coconut oil from one of the locals on the island. It’s a pretty neat process and it may get you all jazzed up to do it on your own at home like one of my volunteers suggested, but if coconuts aren’t grown close to you, then it’s not a very sustainable product for you to try and make. In that case, this is just an informative post for those of us who have no clue how to go about extracting the oil from a coconut.

Step 1
Step 1: First you need to get the coconuts down from the tree. Monkeys are trained to do this here on Koh Tao. They are tied to a string and sent up the tree to pull off ripe coconuts.
Step 2
Step 2: Remove the husk of the coconut. This is done by jamming the coconut onto a dull spear sticking out of the ground. Once the husk is lodged onto it, push until the husk breaks off. Rotate the coconut and repeat until the husk is entirely removed. The husks can be put in the ground to help with water absorption.
Step 3
Step 3: Cut the coconut in two with a machete!
Step 4
Step 4: Remove the fleshy white part of the coconut by shredding it. The discarded shells can be made into handicrafts and sold or can be turned into activated charcoal.
Step 5
Step 5: Weigh 1 kilo of shredded coconut in a large bowl.
Step 6
Step 6: Add one liter of water to the bowl of shredded coconut.
Step 7
Step 7: Mix the coconut and water and squeeze the bits of coconut with your hands.
Step 8
Step 8: Remove all solids from the coconut milk you have just made and compost them.
Step 9
Step 9: Pour the liquid into a clear pitcher and seal with plastic wrap for 30-35 hours.
Step 10
Step 10: The small clear middle layer is the coconut oil! After 35 hours (or 40 in our case) the oil, solids, and milk separate. The oil can then be removed and used in your hair, on your skin, to cook or you can even drink a little bit every day to help with a range of things from weight management to your immune system!

13 thoughts on “How to Make Coconut Oil

  1. Thanks for the interesting post. I like how you worked in a sustainability angle.

    You might consider more posts on traditional technology you encounter. A lot of us nerds find that fascinating.

  2. Hi. How EXACTLY do you remove pure coconut oil from that pitcher after it separated from water & solids? I really don’t like the idea of boiling the oil to get it pure, so can you please explain more detailed how you get it out of pitcher? Thanks

    1. Hi Anastasia,
      It’s been a while since this post, so it’s a little foggy how we removed the oil… but I would suggest taking a spoon to the top of the pitcher and skimming the brownish solids off. Then try using a syringe to remove the oil. The bottom layer of the pitcher is all coconut milk and is delicious to cook with. Does that clear things up? There’s no reason to boil the oil. It’s better for you if it’s cold pressed.

      1. thank you for the answer! Yeah it helps! Just trying to find a good way of collecting the oil & not loosing any precious drops of oil, & also not getting any solids & the milk in. Cause some of it got in with the oil & it gone bad very fast! thank you for your help!

    1. “Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil: Not being subjected to heat (even if it is, it is subjected to very low heat), sunlight, being extracted from fresh (non-dried) coconuts with different process of extraction, it is certainly more in benefits than the ordinary coconut oil. It is higher in vitamin content, anti-oxidants (which is nil or negligible in ordinary coconut oil), minerals, medium chain fatty acids, taste, fragrance and even protein. The shelf life of virgin coconut oil is very long, much longer than any other edible oil and its own variant, the RBD (Refined Bleached Deodorized) coconut oil. It does not go rancid easily. Due to presence of higher amounts of Lauric and Capric acid, prospect of using VCO in aiding treatment of AIDS is also being explored.”

      Raw is generally better nutrient wise if you have an option.

  3. It was really nice to know that coconut oil could be made without boiling too’Ihave a mind to try it. Thank you.

  4. In Belize women would never discard the coconut after washing. Sugar is added and it is cooked on a large griddle until the sugar carmelizes. Cinnamon is added and it is used as a filling in cakes or fried pies. It can also be added to granola. It’s just low-fat coconut- Food, not compost!

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