Assume you are stranded on a tropical island. You have made a temporary shelter, found a source of drinking water, learned how to catch fish, identified edible plants and also learned how to make fire. One think which you will not find in those isolated islands is oil, oil for your hair, for your body to cure sunburns & itches from insect bites and also for cooking. In any tropical island, you may normally find few coconut trees and matured coconuts fallen from the trees. The problem is you do not know how to extract oil from those coconuts...!!!
I lived in a tribal island in Andaman and Nicobar group of islands for about five years and my wife stayed with me for an year. She used coconut oil for hair and it was very hard to find it even though there were so many coconut trees in that island. We learned from the tribal on how to extract coconut oil from scratch.
This instructable will teach you how to make oil from those coconuts. You do not require any special equipment for this and you got all the time in the world.... let us get started
Step 1: Collect Coconuts
Search around and collect few fallen coconuts. You also need couple of rocks, one may be a big boulder on the ground and the other may be smaller in size which you can lift up easily.
Step 2: Husk the Coconuts
Let us see how we can husk the coconuts using those rocks
- First, remove the cap from the coconut. It can be removed by lightly tapping the cap on the rock.
- Now place the coconut on the big boulder, uncapped portion facing down.
- Lift the other rock with both hands and hit hard on top of the coconut.
- After few hard hits, you will find cracks on the sides and the husk gets loosened
- Remove the loosened husk from the nuts.
Step 3: Crack Open the Coconuts
You might have collected few utensils washed ashore. Even helmets worn by the soldiers during world war II can be found on the beach. A well cleaned turtle shell also serves the purpose.
Holding the husked coconut in your palm, lightly tap on the edge of a rock in a circular motion. Now the coconut will crack open. You can collect and drink the coconut water in the bowl or helmet whatever it may be. Here you can see four halves from two coconuts cracked open.
Step 4: Remove and Collect Coconut Meat
You can remove the coconut meat using any sharp metal object. Here, you can see I have used an old broken spoon for this. You can scrap out the flesh from the nuts or remove chunks with the sharp end of the broken spoon. Just insert and twist the broken end to take out the chunks. I have collected the coconut meat from two halves, that is from one coconut and stored in the utensil.
Step 5: Grate the Coconut Meat
Search for a worn out stone like this one in the picture here along the shore. We will use this stone to grate the coconut meat. You can do it in an empty coconut shell, in a helmet, over a rock or even in a well cleaned tortoise shell. Place the chunks of coconut meat in the container and pound with the stone to grate them.
Step 6: Extract Coconut Milk
Now we will extract the coconut milk from the crushed meat.
- Add some water to the grated coconut and mix well.
- Squeeze out the milk from the mix. You can do it with your hands, or better use a piece of cloth to filter out the milk from the mix.
- Do it twice to extract more milk from the leftover. Do not over do otherwise you will end up with lot of water in the extract.
Step 7: Make a Fireplace
- Find out a place to make fire.
- Lay two stones perpendicular to each other so that it will have enough space in between.
- Check by placing the milk filled utensil over the stones
Step 8: Boil the Coconut Milk
- Collect dried branches or dried coconut leaves and make fire.
- Keep the milk-filled utensil over the fire. You can use a tortoise shell also for boiling the mix.
- The coconut milk may boil up. Use a wooden stick or a piece of bamboo to stir the milk while boiling.
- Carry on till all the water gets evaporated from the mix. This may take considerable time as all the water needs to be evaporated. Now you can see oil bubbling on the surface of the heated milk.
- Remove from fire and allow the oily milk to cool down.
Step 9: Extract Oil From Boiled Coconut Milk
- When the mixture is sufficiently cooled down, you can separate the oil from the mix. You can use a small piece of cloth, the size of a hand-kerchief for this.
- Lay the piece of cloth flat over the heated mix and lightly press with your fingers. You can note that the cloth is absorbing oil from the mix.
- Remove the piece of cloth and fold it keeping the side facing-up out.
- Squeeze the oil from the cloth into another container or an empty coconut shell
This oil still contains lots of coconut flesh.
Step 10: Separate Pure Oil
- Keep the oil still to settle down. After few minutes you will find the pure coconut oil floating up
- Now tilt the container and slowly drain out the oil into another container.
- You got pure coconut oil, which you can use for your hair, on your body and also for cooking.
- The left-over may still contain some oil, which you can use on your body to cure sunburns and for relief from itches caused by insect bite.