Old coconuts are coconuts too

I am from Holland and traveling for 4 months now. And I am so happy I found this beautiful peaceful place where I can find the balance between relaxing and learning about nature’s treasures while volunteering at La Tortuga Verde. One of the interesting things I have been working on is making natural soap.

coco barco

There is an overload of coconuts around here, which is great for the fresh juice and the meat, but we are not able to drink and eat them all. So some are getting old. And the oldies have a great advantage, their meat is thicker and more mature, so they are rich with coconut oil. We don’t want to waste anything, so making soap with this oil will give them a great purpose and it will give us great soft soap with a super tropical smell.

old cocos

 

So how do you get the oil out of the coconut meat? 

First you cut the coconut into 2 or 3 pieces with a machete. Than you get some tools, knife, spoon, whatever helps you to get it out. It’s a hard job, so if there are people around that are just watching the waves, ask them to help :-) We used 5 coconuts for the first batch. And this is the amount we extracted.

coconut meat

As you can see, the thin shell of the coconut is still on the meat. You only keep the white meat, so cut all of the shell away. After that you will have a big bowl of beautiful thick meat and you can finally process it to become oil.

clean coco

 

We are lucky to have a magic machine, which separates the milk from the pulp. If you don’t have one, you have some work to do, because you need to rasp the meat manually and press the liquid out. With the magic machine this process only took 10 minutes. And then you get this amazing result. The pulp still contains some milk, so you can put it in the machine again to get all of it out.

 

machine coco seperated

We put the coconut pulp in the dehydrator for two days, so all the liquid dissolves and we can conserve it and use it for a thai vegan dinner or in the granola. The liquid we left alone for a around 4 hours. What happens in these 4 hours is that the oil floats to the top. Then after that, we put it in the fridge for approx. 2 days and than it’s easier to scrape the oil from the top and put it in a different bowl.

As said before, we only used 5 coconuts. Please note that from 5 coconuts you only get around 5-10 spoons of oil.

This was step one for making natural soap. Now we need to get some lye and some olive oil and we are in business :-)