Raw Coconut Yogurt, dairy-free and rich in probiotics!

Hmmm I think I may have my new obsession…coconuts…coconut water, coconut meat, coconut kefir, coconut yogurt.    Shoot I found out you can even make deliciously awesome nut cheeses out of coconuts!  More on that in a later post...These discoveries all came courtesy of Victoria Kieburtz, culinary wonderwoman who totally rocks.  I took one of her classes a few weeks ago and was hooked - I instantly  went crazy for coconuts (so cheesy i know...)! Here is my adapted recipe from her class for AWESOME yogurt chalked full of good-for-you probiotics and raw enzymes…made straight from, and only with, a young thai coconut.  (You can also watch Victoria in action here making the mango coconut yogurt!)  It’s surprisingly simple too as long as you have the gusto and means to cutting open a coconut – those suckers are tough (just see pictures below of my adventures in coconut hacking…)

What you Need:

  • 3 Young Thai Coconuts (You can purchase from whole foods typically with the top already cut off - if you aren't sure what they look like, check them out here.)
  • Packet of kefir starter kit or a couple capsules of good quality probiotics (I used Donna Gates Kefir Starter which can be purchased online here.)
  • Glass jar with sealable lid
  • Fruit of your liking to flavor yogurt (I used 1/2 mango, 1-2T. goji berries and less than 1/4 banana)

Directions:

In order to have deliciously tart and healthy yogurt rich in probiotics you need to have some kefir which is essentially a liquid that has been fermented (this simply means it has sat in a dark warm place allowing the good bacteria in the drink to multiply...)  So here's how to make your own coconut kefir:

  • If your coconuts do not already have the tops cut off you will need to do this.  If they do then just remove the meaty flesh covering the hole in the top of the coconut and pour the coconut water out of the coconut into a bowl or pitcher.  (NOTE: Coconut water should be pretty darn clear.  If the water is pink or purple then it may have gone bad.  Use your judgment: the more intense the color, the more likely it's a busted nut and best not to use.  Sometimes the flesh will get a little colored and that's usually ok, it's really just the water you want to watch out for).
  • Reserve about about 1/4-1/2 cup coconut water in separate container and refridgerate this reserved amount.
  • Place container with remaining coconut water on stove warmer or in bowl of hot water to get the coconut water to about 92degrees.
  • Add the kefir starter kit and/or probiotic capsules to the warmed coconut water and pour into glass jar, tightly sealed.
  • Store in cool dark place for 36 hours.  (I put my coconut kefir inside an insulated lunch bag and then in a closet)
  • Finish hacking the coconuts until you can split them in half.  With a spoon, scoop out the meaty flesh and place in covered container and refrigerate until ready to make yogurt.

Making the yogurt:

  • After 36 hours remove coconut kefir.  You should see a bubbly layer at the top of the liquid and it should have an effervescent taste to it - so flipping gooooood!!!
  • Place coconut meat from 3 young thai coconuts in high speed blender with 3 T. of the plain coconut water in the fridge, blend until smooth and creamy.  (You do not want to add too much coconut water and risk turning the yogurt into milk so start small and add more coconut water if needed.)
  • Add fruit as desired (Go light on the fruit as you don't want to feed the kefir bacteria too much sugar) and blend until smooth.
  • Pour into a sealable glass jar and stir in 2 T. of the coconut kefir.
  • Place jar in cool dark place for 6-8 hours to allow the yogurt to ferment

 

Fermented foods are an exceptional way to improve your health as it is believed that as much as 80% of our body's energy goes toward digestion and many doctors believe your gut is actually your second brain.  Eating foods rich in good bacteria and raw enzymes will help nourish your gut which is so vital to your overall health because our guts regulate not only digestion, but actually also effect mood and immunity too!  So go enjoy more probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir!

This yogurt is super tangy because it is so rich in probiotics and so good for your belly - I cannot get enough seriously! But if you're more inclined toward sweeter yogurt than you can easily make a delicious parfait out of this yogurt using additional fresh fruit, muesli/granola and honey/maple syrup - I made parfaits for my friend Kellie and her two little boys and even her six year old loved it!  The recipe may sound daunting but seriously with a good knife it is so easy and so worth it - a total must try!!!

photo 4

**Note you can re-use this kefir 6 times and within 4 days or so. Just add 1/4c starter water (coconut water already fermented 36 hours with kefir) to the water of 3 coconuts

**Flouride and chloride kill good bacteria in the gut so make sure you don't get any tap water in your kefir!

**If you're able to find coconut meat already cut-up (I know some Whole Foods do this) then you can certainly save time by using this and then quality-sourced coconut water instead of hacking your own coconuts :)