Homemade Coconut Yogurt


Naturally fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir are the cornerstone of a healthy diet. They are raw, living foods full of probiotics- live bacterial organisms that are the "good guys" in our digestive system. They help us digest our food and also make important nutrients for us, like B vitamins, vitamin K, folate, and some short-chain fatty acids. They also keep us from getting sick from "bad" bacteria that we may encounter in our diet, and they keep us healthy by contributing to our immune system. Research also suggests that taking certain probiotics and having a healthy gastrointestinal tract actually leads to lower LDL (harmful) cholesterol.  

This delicious creamy coconut yogurt can be made with canned coconut cream or better yet, fresh coconut meat from young Thai coconuts. The fresh lemon juice adds a delicious tang, the coconut oil and coconut butter adds a heavenly element of creaminess, and the addition of vanilla makes this yogurt taste like a lemon cream pie!

Once you start making your own yogurt, you will be amazed at how much better homemade fermented foods taste in comparison to store bought. Make a big batch ahead of time so you can enjoy your delicious homemade yogurt all month long. 

Ingredients:

6 cups coconut flesh (from Young Thai coconuts*)
about 1/4-2 cups of fresh coconut water from the coconuts (add more or less depending on how you thick you like your yogurt)
OR x 3 16 oz cans of organic coconut cream
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1 Tbs coconut oil
1 Tbs coconut butter
1 Tbs alcohol-free vanilla extract
2 tsp of probiotic powder (from 4 probiotic capsules)

*You may need to search "How To Open a Coconut" on Youtube. Use a blunt heavy knife (like a meat cleaver), or purchase a coconut opening tool to open the coconuts.

Using a high speed blender, blend all ingredients except the probiotic powder together until smooth. Add more coconut water (or water, if using coconut cream) if needed. We are looking to create a thick but smooth mixture.

Once smooth, add the probiotic powder and stir thoroughly.

Using a large glass bowl or 2-3 glass wide-mouthed mason jars, pour your mixture into the bowl or jars, leaving some space at the top (fill to 3/4 full). Cover loosely with a cloth or plastic lid.

Find a warm spot in your house for the bowl or jars, perhaps above the oven, in a dehydrator (set at 90-100 degrees F), or leave in the oven with the oven light on, overnight. 

Check your yogurt approximately 9-12 hours later, it may need a stir. It should have thickened considerably and have a nice sour, yogurt-y smell. Keep it covered in the fridge and enjoy for breakfast with fruit and granola, in smoothies, as the base for a salad dressing, or with chocolate chips for a delicious, healthy dessert!
Enjoy!

Coconuts are a wonderful food. The fresh water of the young Thai coconut is full of electrolytes and very hydrating. It is also high in ascorbic acid (an antioxidant), B vitamins, potassium, and small amounts of protein. The water also contains other valuable minerals for our body such as calcium, sodium, copper, iron, phosphorous, and sulphur.

The flesh of the coconut contains the Vitamins A and E as well as polyphenols and phytosterols of which may actually help decrease levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol (Can).

Lemon should be a staple in everyone's home. The tangy zesty flavor can be used to make vinaigrettes, add flavor to vegetables, provide balance in fatty or oily dishes, and can even be consumed in hot water or tea for a wonderfully soothing and detoxifying drink. The lemon peel, pith (white fleshy part), fiber, and of course the juice are all chock-full of health benefits. Research indicates that eating lemons can: help boost your immune system, reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, lower total blood cholesterol levels, help prevent and reduce weight gain, protect against anemia by aiding iron absorption from food, help maintain digestive health, and keep the body hydrated with electrolytes. (6) In addition to the Vitamin C, lemons are also a good source of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. Make lemons a staple in your house and pantry, and better yet consider planting a lemon tree (or several)! 

Coconut Butter is a delicious creamy spread made from dried and blended coconut meat. It has a delicious naturally sweet flavor without the addition of sugar. It is thicker than coconut oil and contains some fiber, so it is used as a spread. Try it on freshly cooked pancakes (it will melt slightly!), on top of yogurt parfaits, blended into smoothies for a thicker and more satiating smoothie, or simply by the spoonful as a luscious after-dinner treat. It contains medium chain triglycerides which studies have found can promote lipid metabolism and weight loss, promote the health of the intestinal flora, and even provide extra energy to your brain in the form of ketones (Benefits). Enjoy, but use sparingly, as it is high in saturated fat and may raise total cholesterol. 

References

Benefits Coconut Butter. Totty, Brent. Retrieved October 2, 2020, from https://phatfudge.com/blogs/blog/phat-fudge-ingredient-highlight-series-coconut-butter

6 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Lemons. West, Helen RD. Retrieved October 1, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-lemon-health-benefits

Can Phytosterols Help Lower Cholesterol? (n.d.) Retrieved September 30, 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/qa/can-phytosterols-help-lower-cholesterol