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!