But why just take probiotic pills when I can turn them into delicious coconut yogurt!? Yes. And you don't need to be a kitchen wizard to make scrummy coconut yogurt. All you need is two ingredients, a clean glass jar, and access to a refrigerator. If you don't have access to a refrigerator we probably have larger issues to tackle than how to concoct coconut yogurt. Here are some tips for making your own coconut yogurt.
- 3 cups full fat coconut milk (Try to use a brand without a hundred wonky ingredients in it. Most brands contain guar gum, which doesn't interfere with the process.)
- 2 probiotic gel caps (I use the brand BioKult, as they don't contain gelatin.)
- Large glass jar with glass lid.
- 2 tablespoons sweetener (Bacteria loves to munch on sugars, so your yogurt will do well if you add 2 tablespoons of agave or maple syrup. You could also just use sugar. However, it isn't necessary. I love plain tart yogurt, so I usually do not sweeten mine, and it works out just fine. Coconut milk is slightly sweet as is, and that's enough for me. )
- Use the full fat variety of coconut milk that comes in a can. If you use the low or no fat variety, your yogurt will separate and get all weird and watery. You could fix that by adding a thickening agent, but I'm not one to complicate things.
- A side note on coconut fats: Coconut is crazy high in saturated fat, which everyone says is bad bad bad. However, there is a big debate on saturated fats coming from coconut milk. Saturated fats do differ from each other chemically, depending on the number of carbon atoms they hold, the concentration of available fatty acids, and their source (plant or animal derived?).
Coconut fats have been found to raise bad cholesterol (LDL) as well as good cholesterol (HDL), and so all the “experts” whistle a different tune regarding the healthfulness of coconut fat.
I think fat in your diet is good for you, especially when it comes from a plant-based source (full disclosure: I'm vegan) and I have really low cholesterol so I eat full fat coconut products in moderation. I will let you decide on what's best for your bod. Whew, that was a lot.
- Many suggest using a thickening agent like kudzu, agar agar, pectin, tapioca starch, or arrowroot. However, the recipe I learned from used only coconut milk and live cultures, so I haven't used any thickening agent, and as you can see, the yogurt is incredibly thick after 3–5 days in the fridge.
- Glass jars are crucial. Make sure they're clean! I boil mine first.
- All coconut milk brands are different, and you might need to try a few before you find one you like. I like to aim for organic coconut milk, but you do you.
- Sterilize your jar, either by boiling or popping them fresh out of the dishwasher. Add your coconut milk, and two of your probiotic pills. Stir into the jar. Add sweetener, if you're using.
- Leave jar in a sunny place for 8 – 12 hours. A counter beneath a window works well for this. Some people have fancy yogurt makers that heat their cultures to the exact right temperature. Perhaps their yogurt is superior, but why buy a fancy new kitchen toy when I have a perfectly good warm counter?
- Pop yogurt into fridge. Chill for another 12 hours and enjoy. My yogurt has not lasted more than 3 days in my fridge because I keep eating it. However, it does get thicker and tarter with every passing day. If you have any self control, you may want to wait a few days to see which yogurt you like best, day 1, 2, 3, 4. I'm an animal and can't seem to do this. I also have no idea how long it will last in the fridge, because again, I eat it.
It's also great in Mexican-inspired dishes as if it were sour cream, and in potato salad instead of mayo. See the below Okinawan purple potato salad I made with coconut yogurt, shredded coconut flakes, and raisins: