Extracting Cocoa Butter and Other Oil Processing Methods

The popular oil extraction methods.

The solvent extraction. The oil-rich commodity is bath with hexane, the likes of petroleum ether. It dissolves the commodity oil content. The oil is then purified by boiling the hexane off.

Hexane has low boiling temperature, about 36 to 50°C. Boiling to such temperature range will drive the hexane off and leave the oil behind. The solvent is collected in another chamber and use for repeated extraction.

This method is high yielding and preferred by big commercial processors.

Screw press. Can either be slow speed and temperature regulated or equipped with cooling mechanism to protect sensitive oils. A low yielding method meant for production of higher quality and healthier oil. Or, high speed and heated process. High speed screw press rotation tend to produce heat which aids extraction. If the heat produced is not enough, external heat source is applied.

Press and ferment. As far as my knowledge is concern, this method is only applicable to virgin coconut oil. Grated coconut is pressed to expel out mixture of oil, water and other substances. Then naturally fermented overnight to let oil separate on top.

..press and boil. Instead of boiling, the extracted liquid is boiled to allow evaporation of unnecessary portion. The method yield more but lower quality oil.

The cocoa butter extraction process. Extracted by batch press. Roasted nibs are subjected to milling producing fine textured liquor. Then butter is extracted via batch press while still in liquid state.

Can cocoa butter be extracted by solvent extraction?  I think it can be! Repeatedly bath the roasted nibs in hexane. Then heat the solution to hexane boiling temperature to get purified cocoa butter.

It is possible but likely to have detrimental effects on flavor and safety. Roasting process develops cocoa flavor. Why take a risk by adding harmful and odor offensive hexane? It can be removed by heating but we never know the effect it may cause or whether it is completely removed or not.

Wanna take the risk?

Cytokinins and Buko Juice | Anti-Cancer and Anti-Aging Mix

While thinking for a possible title for a mini-thesis, the cytokinin in coconut came to my mind. Of all the plant, young green coconut, buko, is the richest source of cytokinins. For that reason, the coconut water can be used for growing other plants. However, I never want pouring it down the ground. I’d rather save it in refrigerator for later consumption.

Cytokinin is a plant hormone. The substance is produce in root section then transported to other parts of the plant. It promotes lateral branching when present in sufficient amount. Plants treated with more cytokinin produced more branches than untreated. It is being used for seedless grapes production. It induce cell division, growth and differentiation.

It promotes cell division but inhibits the formation of mutant cells, the cancer cells. It also maintains cell youth and retard aging. These are the reasons why I never want giving the precious coconut water to plants.

The anti-cancer and anti-aging are also true on animal and human tissues. A detached teeth and or other tissues are better preserved by coconut water than any other commercial formula. The preserving property is attributed to cytokinins.

I never thought coconut water is this good!

My proposed mini-thesis, “Growth Performance of Pechay Treated With Coconut Water”. I am still thinking of better options.

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How to Make Coconut Milk Soft Cheese/Kesong Puti

Can we make soft cheese out of coconut milk? Maybe or maybe not! Here are the three versions for you to try.

Version 1. Shredded semi-matured coconut with a dash of rock salt and very little cold pressed olive oil. I think the coconut maturity for use is what we called alangan. The fully matured coconut is hard and has a distinct oily taste. Shredded means it has to be turned to small pieces using cheese shredder. This is an attempt to mimic the looks and salty taste of cheese.

Version 2. Grated matured coconut is pressed to extract out the milk. Hydraulic pressed is recommended get most liquid. Citric juice and rock salt are added to taste. Then milk solids are concentrated by placing the mixture on fine filter paper for 36 to 48 hours.

Version 3. A procedure by Sanchez, P.C. and P.M. Rasco, 1983. This one entails mixing coconut milk and dairy milk followed by actual cheese process.

1) Add 80 grams cold pressed coconut milk to 840 grams water of 72ºC temperature. Stir for five minutes. Add non-fat dry milk or powdered skim milk gradually with continuous mixing.

2) Add pure culture of Streptococcus lactis and Streptococcus diacetilactis and let stand for 15 minutes. Mix three percent salt and filter through clean cheesecloth.

3) Pasteurize at 72ºC for five minutes then cool quickly to 40ºC  by placing the cooking vessel on running water bath.

4) Mix in three percent rennet and let undisturbed for 30 minutes. Filter off the excess water by placing on slotted trays lined with cheesecloth for about 12 hours.

Coconut milk and dairy milk has similar properties. That’s why the first can be used as extender for the latter. Not completely the same though. Using only coconut or coconut milk for soft cheese production requires an entirely different procedure.

Requirements for Making Nata de Coco

What is nata de coco? It is like a combined jelly ace and bubble gum – a chewy jelly made of coconut water/milk. It has the semi transparent and wiggly characteristics of jelly ace and the chewy property of bubble gum – but not as elastic.

What is nata de coco in English? I guess the proper term would be the name itself “nata de coco”. To describe, it is a cellulose formed by bacterial action in a suitable substrate, a bacterial cellulose. It is able to hold about 90% water.

What are the materials needed in making nata?

1) Nata starter. Perhaps it is the limiting factor why anyone could not jumped easily into nata making. Where to find nata starter?

I mentioned before that nata is a bacterial cellulose. It is synthesized by Acetobacter xylinum. A common bacteria responsible for spoiling good wines. An essential microorganisms in vinegar industry. Acetobacter bacteria can also be found from rotting fruits and spoiled juices.

Nata could be produced from scratch using mother vinegar/rotten fruit plus the favorable conditions. Starting with the pure cultures would be easier though. Get it from government agencies, training institutions or universities.

2) Juice. Coconut is well known in nata industry. However, nata can also be made of other juices such as mango, pineapple and vegetables like kalabasa.

3) Sugar. The ideal amount in juice is ten percent. Juice natural sugar content if insufficient should be reinforced with commercial sugar. The acetobacter use this to make cellulose.

4) Acetic acid. The optimum pH for maximum activity is 4. The organic acid is added to meet this pH value.

5) Ammonium sulfate. It serves as source of nitrogen. Necessary for growth, development and formation of enzymes. Juice usually provides enough nitrogen, commercial ammonium sulfate is added as assurance. The ideal amount is 0.5 percent.

6) Temperature. Room temperature of 28 to 30ºC should be maintained. Mentaining this value is a bit tricky and costly. It is like turning the air conditioner when too hot and having heater bulb when too cold.

7) Fifteen to twenty days of undisturbed fermentation is needed to produced 1.5 cm thick nata out of 5m deep solution.

The Sweetened Macapuno (makapuno)

macapuno coconut

A matured coconut has water but not full. It creates a noise when shaken. Sounds like shaking a jar half filled with water. But some coconut failed to create such noise. Failure could mean two things. Either the coconut is spoiled (bulok, mabaho) or it is macapuno.

The word macapuno or makapuno was coined from the Tagalog word “puno”, which which means filled, no spare space. It does not mean a coconut is filled with water. The coconut is filled with a very soft endosperm, no extra space for water.

macapuno coconut

My previous Horticulture Professor told us the makapuno is a mutant coconut in English term. It has no ability to germinate unless the embryo is removed and reared in a control laboratory condition, in test tubes.

There are two makapuno coconut tree in my father’s farm. We always look for makapuno every harvest time. Only two makapuno can be gathered per bunch. The instance of three is very rare. We get a regular fruit most of the time. Getting none is common.

In urban cities, makapuno is only seen as ice cream flavor. The rare ube macapuno and ube langka ice cream.  Am I right?

Father harvested coconut last week. He was lucky and got two macapuno coconut. Mom tried to cook one but it was spoiled. She just left the other one untouched. The next day, my niece asked mom when will she cook the last macapuno piece. Mom replied she had no money to buy sugar (Hmmm.. cheezy!) I grabbed the coconut and volunteered to cook it.

The ingredient list:
one regular size macapuno
1/4 kilogram washed sugar
3/4 cup water

The procedure:
1) Scoop out all the macapuno flesh. Make the pieces small by mashing it with a spoon.
2) Place all ingredients in stainless pot and bring to slow boil for 30 minutes.
3) Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.

sweetened makapuno macapuno

The sweetened macapuno is very yummy. It can be eaten as is or as spread to bread buns and biscuits. The uncooked endosperm taste like virgin coconut oil with slightly sweet taste. The sweetened version taste like a combination of virgin coconut oil and bukayo.

How to Make Soft and Less Sweet Bukayo

well done bukayo

Usually bukayo is a very sweet candy made of coconut and sugar. However, this one is different, less sweet and soft. The lack of sugar is compensated by addition of flour or cornstarch. The cooking is stopped before it reaches the end point for firmness.

800 grams grated young coconut
5 tablespoon flour
1/4 kg sugar
1/4 cup coconut water

1) Mix coconut water and sugar in a pot and bring it to a slow boil.
2) Add grated young coconut and continue stirring to prevent scorching.
3) Soft bukayo is done when it is sticky enough to hold its shape.
4) Remove from fire, cool and transfer to suitable container.

alangan semi matured coconut shreds

making bukayo

well done bukayo

Matured coconut can also be used for making soft and less sweet bukayo. The product can be eaten alone, use as toppings and sandwich spread.