Recipe: Hot Mama’s Homemade Coconut Oil
Coconut oil isn’t easy to find in Nigeria and when you find it, it’s either expensive or adulterated, partly because a large number of coconuts yields a relatively small amount of oil. And buying it overseas is just another hassle I could do without. So what’s a screwy-haired girl to do? One day about 4 months ago, my mother said to me, “Why don’t we just make our own?” Hot Mama’s one smart cookie, y’all :-)
My camera makes it look like pee, but it's really lighter in color :-)
Homemade coconut oil smells heavenly*, like freshly baked cupcakes, and it works beautifully as part of my hair care regimen. The whole family loves it, including DK, to whom we sent a batch in the US. So here’s Hot Mama’s recipe. Unfortunately, I only have photos of the finished oil and not the process, but it’s really an easy one to follow.
This is not the cold-press method. Some heat is used in this process.
What you’ll need
- Very mature coconuts**
- 1 large bowl of hot water
- 2 large bowls
- Fine mesh sieve/strainer
- Food processor (or a blender)
- Large cooking spoon
- Saucepan or pot
- Glass or plastic jar (for storage)
What you do
- Shell the coconuts. Their inner brown skin will darken the oil, so if you prefer a paler-colored oil, you can peel off the skin. (The coconuts in our yard have a white skin, so I skip the peeling.)
- Grate the coconut flesh on the finest side on your grater.
- With the food processor, finely blend the grated coconut flesh, adding enough water–just a little will do–to turn it into a soft paste. You could use a blender instead, but do so in smaller batches to get the right consistency.
- Transfer the paste into the large bowl and, stir in some hot water into the paste to release all the oil from the coconut paste. Stir well.
- Sieve the mixture into the other bowl and allow to fully cool in a refrigerator or freezer. The oil will rise to the top and congeal (just like the oil in the stew that maid who kills everything with oil makes).
- Carefully spoon off the congealed oil from the bowl into a saucepan (or a pot if you’re making a large batch) and place on very low heat to slowly boil off any water lurking in the oil. (Don’t use high heat–it’ll scorch the oil. Also be careful to make sure all the water evaporates, otherwise the oil will go rancid a lot more quickly.) Once the last of the water’s gone, remove the saucepan from the stove and allow to stand until warm.
- (Warm up the glass jar before pouring in the warm oil to avoid cracking.) Pour the oil into your desired glass jar or durable plastic tub. Seal properly and keep refrigerated.
- Enjoy! If you use this recipe, don’t forget to come back and share how it turned out!
*It’s interesting to note that coconuts from western Nigeria and our westerly neighbors produce a sweet-smelling oil, but my mother tells me that the coconut oil they made when she was growing up in the east smelled a tad awful. I’m not sure if eastern coconuts are still that way, but the smell shouldn’t obviate the wonderful properties of the oil.
**The best coconuts for coconut oil are the fully-matured ones. They’re all grown up. Don’t use babies.