Can you freeze coconut milk if you have got leftover from dinner? Everything you need to know about freezing and thawing coconut milk.
What Is Coconut Milk?
Coconut milk is plant-based milk, rich in lipids (1), composed of coconut flesh blended together. The proteins and fats get isolated naturally, and after that, they are suspended in hot water. In essence, the coconut flesh is grated pressed using cheesecloth in hot water. This is done until the proteins and fats are in hot water.
Coconut cream, which is the thickest coconut milk, is made using warmed coconut flesh, and without any added water. Thinner coconut milk, on the other hand, is made using added water. This reduces the fat content and makes it easier to handle.
However, this type of milk is basically an emulsion which means that it can separate, under specific conditions, but usually, it is stable.
What About Coconut Milk’s Shelf Life?
The first thing that comes to mind when buying coconut milk is how long does coconut milk last? For this, it is important to consider the different types of coconut milk.
There are thicker ones that, are made using pure coconut substance squeezed from the white flesh, and have a lot of fat, and there are thinner ones, as well, that have added water in them. Respectively, the expiry date of coconut milk depends, upon the type, and the type of packaging, since thick coconut is stored in cans and the thin one is packed in cartons.
So, if you keep it in proper conditions, an unopened canned coconut drink can last for up to 5 years, while the beverage lasts for half a year to one year.
Storing Coconut Milk
When it comes to storing coconut milk, there are a few things that you should know to avoid throwing away food that can be saved.
How Long Does Canned Coconut Milk Last?
Coconut milk sold in cans remains safe for consumption for up to 5 years at maximum as long as it is kept opened in proper storage conditions.
How Long Does Opened Coconut Milk Last?
When it comes to the storage of opened coconut milk, the type of drink matters. If you use the canned type, then it will retain its qualities for around 10 days. However, if you usually buy the drinkable type, it will last for a week after being opened, provided it is stored according to requirements.
How to Refrigerate the Coconut Milk?
Opened coconut milk should be covered with aluminium foil or a cling film tightly before it is placed in the fridge. The store-bought, already refrigerated coconut milk, can be placed in the fridge in its original packaging.
So, Can You Freeze Coconut Milk?
Yes, you can. For freezing coconut milk, make sure to use a freezer-safe, airtight container because it will expand and freeze during the freezing and thawing process. This may cause the container to burst or leak. The texture of coconut milk will not be the best after thawing, but you can work around it.
Do not keep it in the freezer for too long because the separation of the proteins and fats occurs when you freeze coconut milk. The main problem comes from the separated proteins which can get freezer burns, thus altering both the taste and flavour.
You can work around the separated coconut milk by blending it all together again. It will blend back together coherently and beautifully as long as it is reasonably warm like at room temperature.
How to Defrost Coconut Milk?
Put It in the Fridge Overnight: Put the frozen coconut milk in the fridge in the evening, and you will find it thawed in the morning. If you have frozen it in large cubes, the defrosting process might take longer, so put in the fridge accordingly.
Put It in Cold Water: Put the container in cold water, and it will be ready in a few hours.
Use the Microwave: If you need to rush, then the microwave is your best bet. Defrost the coconut milk in small intervals and stir it in-between the sessions once the defrosting starts.
Use It Frozen: If you need coconut milk for cooking, throw it in frozen. Just add a few minutes to cooking for the thawing and cooking.
No matter what defrosting method you choose, give the thawed coconut milk a sound stir, or better yet, use a hand blender to improve its texture and consistency.
How to Use Thawed Coconut Milk?
There are many ways to use defrosted coconut milk, some of them being:
- As a coffee whitener.
- In baking pies, cookies, and in recipes for lactose intolerant people as an alternative of milk.
- As a liquid base in smoothies. You can also use frozen coconut milk cubes in place of ice cubes.
- In cooking curries and pancakes and other recipes.
Freezing Coconut Milk FAQ
How Long Is Coconut Milk Good for After Opening?
Everyone wants to know how long does coconut milk last in fridge or in general. Well, it depends on its type. The liquid, watery drinks can last for 6 days, whereas the thicker one will be usable for up to 10 days.
Can You Freeze Canned Coconut Milk?
Yes, you can freeze canned coconut milk. But it will only be frozen if it is kept in a plastic bag or airtight tank, with enough space for it to expand during the freezing process.
Can You Freeze Curry With Coconut Milk?
Yes, you can. Just let the curry cool down before placing it in airtight jars. You can store it like this in your freezer for some months. The texture may change when you reheat it.
Can You Freeze Coconut Cream?
Coconut cream is a thicker product of coconut milk. It is packed with more coconut richness, and it is creamier. It freezes even worse because of its higher fat content. Try not to freeze coconut cream because its texture, will be completely ruined!
Coconut milk is an amazing substitute for dairy milk and can be used in all types of combinations. As long as you are willing, to experiment, and you love its flavour, it will come out great. Freeze it, thaw it, blend it, and use it however you want.
(1) Rincon, Luana, Raquel Braz Assunção Botelho, and Ernandes Rodrigues de Alencar. "Development of novel plant-based milk based on chickpea and coconut." Lwt 128 (2020): 109479.