Have you seen coconut butter in recipes and wondered what it is?
Or have you seen it on the shelf in your local health food store and wondered how you can ever afford to include it in your frugal pantry?
Because it is NOT a frugal item in the least when bought in the stores.
Well, I have sure done both.
I saw a great recipe one day that I really wanted to try and then read “coconut butter” as being one of the ingredients. What? I have coconut and coconut oil in my pantry, and know about coconut flour, coconut sugar, and even coconut manna…but not coconut butter.
So of course I quickly looked online to see where I could get it and how much it would cost.
Well–giant pause– it cost a mere $13.99 for a “giant” 16 oz. container on the first site I checked :-(.
Now, I don't pay $13.99 a pound for much of anything, let alone something that is made entirely of — (reading the ingredient list)– COCONUT! That's it?!
Another DIY Epiphany
Well, it took me back to the day when I was trying to find milk substitutes for baking since my oldest was diagnosed with a life threatening allergy to dairy and I saw oat milk on the shelf. You guess it — the only ingredients in the oat milk on the shelf at Whole Foods were oats, water and a little sweetener and sea salt. (Sounds of my “you-can-make-this-yourself” mind churning)
So what did I do next? Of course I tried to see if there was a way that I could make it myself —
Well, I found a post about making it in a food processor.
The post said it took about 12 minutes of whirring coconut in the food processor. I don't mean to be the bearer of bad news but — I have a seriously strong food processor. A Viking Professional (yes I bought it refurbished). This machine makes quadruple batches of my Savory Hummus a joy, yielding a creamy smooth product in about 1 minute. So I figured that if any food processor was going to be able to make coconut butter, mine would.
I put about 1 pound of shredded, unsweetened coconut in my processor and let it run–and run–and run– and nothing much seemed to be happening.
That's when I thought that I'd rather have my food processor than my coconut butter. So I gave up.
Fast forward several months and I was at it again.
This time — victory!! For me and all the frugal folks out there. Here's how to do it.
Now, brace yourself, because if you don't have one, you will need a Vitamix. I suppose that this might work in a regular blender, but I don't have one anymore.
And though the price of the Vitamix is a little steep, once you see how easy they are to clean, and whip up a lot of coconut butter and:
Other Great DIY Pantry Staples
you'll see how quickly your financial savings will cover the cost of a Vitamix pretty easily!
(Note: For those of you who would like to make a go of making coconut butter in your food processor, please try it and let me know what happens. I just would encourage you to keep an eye on your machine so that you don't burn it out.)
Homemade Coconut Butter
7 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut (approx. 1.25 pounds)
(Pretty simple ingredient list, eh :-)?)
- Measure 7 cups medium shredded unsweetened coconut (about 1.25 pounds). Pour coconut into the Vitamix (or other high-powered blender). Of course, you can try to use less. I just found that this is a great amount to get it blending well in the Vitamix to produce a wonderful consistency quickly.
- Turn the motor of your Vitamix on and quickly work the speed up. Run the machine on High while using the tamper to keep the coconut moving through the blades (or follow directions for your blender)
- Run the machine on high for about 1 minute.
- After a brief rest, process the coconut on High again for up to 1 minute until it is of the desired consistency.
- Pour into a glass jar for storage.
After having trouble with this working sometimes and not working at other times, I have a few tips to help you get PERFECT coconut butter anytime.
- Start with less coconut. This works more consistently if you start with only about 4 cups of shredded coconut. Make that into a butter and then add 1 cup of additional coconut at a time, blending to a butter with the addition of each cup.
- Make sure that your blender is COMPLETELY dry. Even a little bit of water makes things problematic.
It's as simple as that!
And how creamy and sweet tasting! It will come out of your Vitamix quite warm and runny, but it will harden up as you let it sit. If you need to speed up the process, just put it into your fridge or freezer (or outside if it is winter :-).)
Your coconut butter will become spreadable around 76 degrees, but you can use a knife or apple corer to get it out of the jar if it is colder than that in your home (it sure is in mine in the winter).
NOTE: Occasionally, for some reason, the coconut butter just doesn't make coconut butter. I have really despaired of this in the past but we've managed to eat it anyway. However, if that ever happens to you, just add a few things to the blender and you can have these fabulous No Bake Coconut Cookies instead!
So now for the money part.
One 16 oz. jar of coconut butter costs approximately $13.99. One pound of medium unsweetened coconut costs me (I purchase from Country Life Natural Foods) approximately $1.75. That's more than an 87% savings!!
I have always said that whole, real foods do not have to cost a lot of money. You just need to be a little flexible and a little creative and have a community of whole foodists to share ideas.
Need some convincing about purchasing a Vitamix?
- I will soon be doing a post explaining how this great machine has helped our family save TONS of money over the years, so check back soon.
- You can get a great deal purchasing one through my website (special deals and free shipping are available and your purchase will help support this blog :-).)
- I know this sounds ridiculous, but here's how I think –With just your cost savings on coconut butter alone, if you make 36 16 oz. jars of it, you will have paid for your Vitamix with your savings. Since I have heard of these machines lasting 20 years (they have a great 7 year total warranty), I can easily see you making about 1 jar of coconut butter per year :-). OK. Now you know what a savings nut I can be.
4. Check out my post on Inflation – One Way to Beat It for my thoughts on the economy today and big ticket items.
Ways to Use Coconut Butter:
– We've spread it on sweet crackers, or just on bread.
– Use in recipes calling for coconut butter, of course.
– My kids like to eat it with a spoon :).
– As a frosting (it will need some sweetener and will get quite hard, like a stiff frosting.)
– As a fat substitute in recipes, but it really needs to be softened first and will make your recipe a little more stiff than otherwise.