Coconut milk is the extracted liquids from the meat of the nut. It's not the juice that you pour out of the nut or drink lazily on the shores of tropical islands.

A mature coconut is selected judging from the colour of the outer husk. You select a nut with the outer husk turning from green to brown so it's a mature nut. This will render a high oil content which when suspended in water is a major component of the coconut milk.

The husk is removed by rough paring with a machete. The nut is cracked in half by hitting it skilfully with the back or blade of a machete. The meat is scraped out using a krachai, a fixed tool attached to a small stool. It has a serrated edge and scours out the meat as the operator pushes the inner surface of the nut over the scarifier. The meat falls down into a waiting bowl.

To the contents of a coconut add a cup full of lukewarm water. The grated meat is then squeezed repeatedly in this until the mixture becomes nice and thick. Squeeze out the moisture from the meat and place the spent meat into another bowl. Strain the milk through a kitchen strainer and through a finer arrangement like cheesecloth if you want the milk particle free.  This is the first press coconut milk, the extra virgin quality.

To the reserved first press meat add another 2 cups of lukewarm water and repeat the process to extract the entire milk product from the coconut. This is thinner milk than the first press and in Thailand is called Khati. Khati is used at the beginning of the process of preparing coconut milk dishes.

The product is used on the day of preparation as it turns sour quite quickly. If you wish to keep it another day then you must boil it for a minute or two to sterilise the liquids. Store covered in the refrigerator. You will notice a thicker layer but obviously lighter layer slowly coming to the top of the container. This is the oil rich coconut cream. If you have recipe calling for the addition of coconut cream then by skimming this off you have a useable product.

Multiple coconuts can be prepared together and processed together.

The husk can be used as a support item for growing cymbidium orchids and similar on the sides of trees etc. Some dishes call for the smoking or cooking of a grilled dish by burning coconut husks, so if you have such recipes, then there's an idea for you   the husk fibre is a slow break down fibre and is really very good as teased out mulch for plants. Others just burn the husks and use the ashes as a soil additive.