Coconut milk is a wonderful milk alternative that has a wide range of usage in the culinary world. It is used in cooking and baking and can substitute dairy in recipes requiring dairy. How long coconut milk lasts depends on many factors, so I request you to go through this article to understand how long it lasts in detail.
What is Coconut Milk?
Coconut milk isn’t technically a dairy product. It is a natural and plant-based product. Traditionally it is made from the flesh of matured coconuts that has been processed. Coconut milk has a very subtle sweetness. It has a wonderful and rich mouthfeel with subtle notes of coconut. It is a smart option for people with lactose intolerance and those without it.
From coconut and shrimp curry to pina colada, coconut milk is a jack of all trades in the culinary world. As nothing else quite matches its unique flavor profile and taste. It is available commercially in cans and cartons. However, powdered coconut milk is also available, like powdered milk. But to be honest, coconut milk in its liquid form is better.
How is Coconut Milk Made?
For centuries, coconut milk was made by hand. The flesh of the matured coconut is grated into a powdery breadcrumb-like texture. It is then mixed with water and hand-pressed and filtered. The result is a milky opaque liquid that is rich and creamy, and thick. But to make the coconut milk, water is added to it to make it thinner and milk-like. That is essentially coconut cream. This cream can then be further processed into coconut oil and other products.
Nowadays, commercially made coconut milk is widely available and is relatively inexpensive. And they are just as good as the traditional handmade ones.
Does Coconut Milk Need to Be Refrigerated?
As long as the carton, can, or bottle is unopened, coconut milk doesn’t need to be refrigerated. However, once opened, coconut milk has to be refrigerated. You must always refrigerate coconut milk once it has been opened. Otherwise, it will go bad.
Does Coconut Milk Expire?
Yes definitely. It is not just the expiry date; coconut milk can go bad and expire like any other product. But a few signs tell you if it has gone bad. Let’s take a look:
How to Tell if Coconut Milk has Gone Bad?
If you notice any of these signs, then your coconut milk is no longer edible and should be discarded immediately:
- Film on top
- Visible mold growth
- Rancid smell
- It has become chunky
- It tastes sour
- In the case of coconut milk in cartons, the carton will swell up and bulge.
How to Store Coconut Milk?
Storage methods of coconut milk depend on whether it is opened or unopened. So let us take a look:
How to Store Unopened Coconut Milk?
Storing unopened coconut milk is the easiest as it requires little to no effort at all. Here’s how you store unopened coconut milk:
In your kitchen/pantry: Place the cans or cartons of coconut milk in a cool, dark spot away from direct heat and light sources. They can sit there and last indefinitely without any problems whatsoever.
In the freezer: You can freeze coconut milk, too, if you don’t plan on consuming it immediately or if it is about to expire soon. Place the can or carton in the freezer and freeze it. However, keep in mind that it will expand once frozen, so it is best to transfer the milk into zip lock bags or airtight containers.
How to Store Opened or Leftover Coconut Milk?
To store opened and leftover coconut milk, you will need a freezer or a fridge. Once opened, coconut milk, like any edible product, can go bad very quickly, so it should be refrigerated or frozen asap.
In the fridge: If you plan to consume it within the next 4-5 days, you must refrigerate it. If the milk is in a carton, it makes your life much easier as you can place it in the fridge and be done! But if it’s in a can, you have two options: wrap the opened can in cling film and place it in the fridge. Or you can transfer it to a bottle, airtight container, or even a ziplock bag and place it in the fridge for up to 4-5days.
In the freezer: You should freeze any leftover or opened coconut milk if you don’t plan on consuming it within the next few days. Storing it in the freezer is similar to keeping it in the fridge. Coconut milk in cartons makes your life easier because you can place them inside the freezer and be done with it. But if your milk is canned, you must first seal the can with cling film and then put it in the freezer. Moreover, you can also collect the leftovers, bottle them up, and freeze them. Not just bottles, but anything that can be closed and preferably has a lid. Ziplock bags are also a great option here.
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Answering some FAQ
Does it expire?
Yes, it is a perishable product.
How long does coconut milk last once open?
Once opened, coconut milk lasts for 4-7days refrigerated and 2 hours if not refrigerated.
How long can it sit out?
According to the USDA, you should discard coconut milk after 2 hours of letting it sit out in the open.
Can you freeze coconut milk?
Yes, by placing it in the freezer.
What can you do with leftover coconut milk?
There are many things you can do with leftover coconut milk. You can add it to any recipe that requires milk; you can use it to make coffee or tea. You can add a splash of it to any dish while cooking that could use a flavor boost. You can even use it to moisturize your skin and hair.
What are some creative hacks with coconut milk?
You can freeze coconut milk in ice-cube trays and use them instead of ice in milkshakes and drinks that contain dairy. Additionally, you can make it into smoothies and milkshakes as well. Mango and coconut milkshakes taste heavenly, I promise you.
Are coconut water and coconut milk the same?
No coconut water is the juice of young and unripe coconut. While it may contain the sweetness or taste of coconut, it is in no way milky or creamy. It needs to mature and turn into flesh to be processed into coconut milk.
Is coconut milk vegan?
Yes, as long as no extra non-vegan additive is added to it, coconut milk is vegan.
Can You Drink Coconut Milk With Lactose Intolerance?
Yes. Coconut milk contains no lactose or dairy elements, so it is safe for anyone with lactose intolerance or vegan.
Coconut milk is truly a tasty and brilliant ingredient. It can look dull and white, but its flavor and taste depth are unmatched. It is a best friend to those with lactose intolerance and those without it. From sweet to savory, it can be made and cooked however your heart desires.
Coconut milk complements seafood and poultry very well. It compliments tropical fruits like pineapples, mangoes, passion fruits, etc. It makes incredible desserts; you can use it in smoothies and shakes to add a wonderful freshness and a rich, creamy taste.
So go out there and try coconut milk if you haven’t tried it. Also, please forward me any of your favorite recipes so I can try them out for me! Thanks and have a brilliant day ahead!