From soups to stews to curries, what dish can’t be enhanced by a dash of coconut milk?
This creamy milk packs a punch in terms of flavor and taste. It can turn a bland dish into a delicious gravy.
As much as we love coconut milk, we often need only a little amount of it in dishes. This goes for any type of plant-based milk actually. We want to finish the whole can before it goes bad.
In this article, we will figure out how to freeze coconut milk to preserve it for longer.
Can You Freeze Coconut Milk?
Yes, you can freeze coconut milk but there are a few things you have to keep in mind. We will discuss more about it later.
Coconut milk instantly alleviates any curry or soup. If you are making Thai or Indian curries, coconut milk is a must in your kitchen. Oftentimes, you end up using only half a can of it. What to do with the rest of it then?
This is where freezing comes in handy. You can just freeze the rest of the coconut milk and it will last a couple of weeks. So you don’t end up wasting this delicious ingredient.
How to Freeze Coconut Milk: Two Easy Ways!
Freeze in Ice Tray:
- Start by shaking the milk can for a few minutes. Then pour the milk into an ice cube tray.
- Keep a little bit of space as liquid expands after freezing.
- Transfer the tray into your freezer and wait until it turns solid. It will take around 3-4 hours.
- Then remove the cubes from the tray and pop them into a Ziploc bag. Try to do it a bit fast so the coconut milk does not melt.
- Use a marker to write down the date on the freezer bags.
- Put the bag in the freezer.
We love this method because when you need a few tablespoons of coconut milk, all you have to do is bring out a few cubes. You don’t have to defrost the whole thing or refreeze a bunch of coconut milk. Constant refreezing and thawing can decrease the quality a ton.
Freeze in Containers:
If you use coconut milk for baking, you need a larger amount of it. So it doesn’t make sense for you to freeze them into small cubes. So you need to do it in a container.
- Pour the milk into a pre-portioned container and keep some space for the liquid to expand.
- Make sure the container is airtight and freezer-friendly.
- Close the lid properly to make sure no air can pass through.
- Use a marker to write down the date.
- Put the container in the freezer and let it do its thing.
How to Thaw Coconut Milk?
There are a few different ways to thaw your coconut milk. It all depends on how much time you have.
- Thaw Overnight: You can thaw your coconut milk by transferring the container from the freezer to the fridge. This way it will take overnight to thaw but the result is the best.
- Use Cold Water: You can thaw your coconut milk in cold water by putting the freezer bag in a bowl. This can take 3-4 hours to defrost.
- Microwave It: If you are in a rush, use the defrost setting on the microwave. Make sure the container you are using is microwave safe.
- Add Directly: When you are using coconut milk in gravy or soups or curry, there is no point in thawing the milk. Just add a few cubes to the boiling pan and it will melt in a few minutes.
- Add to Smoothies: If you are making a smoothie, try replacing ice cubes with coconut milk cubes. It not only makes the smoothie more delicious, but it also prevents it from being watery.
How Long Does Coconut Milk Last?
Coconut milk can last for years if you don’t open the can. But once you do, they can go bad within a few weeks.
There are a few different types of coconut milk. Each has a different shelf-life.
Unrefrigerated coconut milk can last months after you open it. They are very convenient but probably not the best tasting option. Thai Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk is a great canned option for Thai and Asian dishes.
Refrigerated coconut milk lasts only a few days after opening the can. So try to use the whole thing or freeze it. We enjoy the Pacific Foods Organic Coconut Milk because it has no sweetener or sugar.
If you are using homemade coconut milk, try using it within 3-4 days. Homemade milk has no preservative so they do not last as long as store-bought options. Keep on reading to know our coconut milk recipe.
Coconut Milk WILL Separate!
Yes, it will and there’s nothing you can do to prevent that. The very consistency of coconut milk causes this separation.
So if you are freaking out over your separated coconut milk, relax and shake the jar for a few minutes. You should be left with a very smooth and creamy texture.
Keep in mind the texture of your coconut milk will change once you thaw it. This is due to the whole freezing process. This doesn’t mean you can not use coconut milk.
It might have a slightly grainy texture but once you add it to dishes and gravies, it should melt with the other ingredients. Frozen coconut milk is perfect for cooking curry dishes.
How to Tell if Coconut Milk is Bad?
It’s pretty easy to tell if your coconut milk is spoiled or not. Here are some key things we like to look for:
- If the unopened can looks bloated and ready to burst, don’t use that coconut milk.
- If the coconut milk smells sour and acidic, it is spoiled.
- The color of the milk should be bright white or slightly yellow. Anything but that is not a good sign.
- If the milk looks chunky or lumpy, it is not ideal to drink.
- If you can’t tell yet, try tasting using a little teaspoon. If it tastes strange and unusual, don’t use that milk.
How to Make Coconut Milk at Home
Even though it might sound super intense, making coconut milk at home is actually quite easy. Well, maybe not that easy but it surely is better than any of the store-bought stuff you have tasted.
All you need for it is:
- 1 package of fresh shredded coconut (preferably unsweetened)
- 4 cups of extra hot water.
Keep in mind this amount makes around 4 cups of coconut milk. If you want more, just add more water and coconut to it.
- Mix the shredded coconut with the hot water. Make sure the water is at almost boiling stage.
- Pour the mixture into a blender and blend it. Turn it into a smooth consistency. It’s ideal to let the mixture sit for a few minutes to make the coconut softer. This helps to blend into a milky consistency.
- Grab a cheesecloth or a nut milk bag and put it on top of a large bowl. Pour the mixture into it.
- Squeeze out the mixture carefully so not a single coconut pulp can pass through.
- When it’s done, pour the coconut milk into a glass bottle or a mason jar and store it in the freezer.
Tip: You can use the leftover coconut pulp to make coconut flour. Simply let the pulp dry thoroughly and then blend until it becomes coconut flour. Learn more about coconut milk alternatives.
Frequently Asked Questions
01. How Long Does Frozen Coconut Milk Last?
If you keep your coconut milk in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag, it can last up to 1.5 months. Yes, it might curdle or separate, but it’s still great for cooking and baking.
02. How Can You Tell if Coconut Milk Has Gone Bad?
Coconut milk is sweet by nature. It has an aromatic sweetness to its smell and taste. So when coconut milk goes bad, it becomes very obvious.
Firstly, it will smell sour. If you notice carefully, you might notice some color changes. Coconut milk is super white in color.
When it becomes darker or has molded, that means it’s no longer safe to eat. You might also notice curdling or chunkiness in texture.
03. Why is My Coconut Milk Hard?
If you open the can and see a solid block of coconut milk, don’t think it’s rotten or inedible. It’s perfectly fine and tastes just as delicious.
Why is coconut milk hard then? The reason is preservatives. Some coconut milk brands use guar gum, xanthan gum, and other thickening agents that can cause the milk to solidify.
To fix this all you have to do is put the can upside down in hot tap water. Or put it upside down in a bowl filled with super hot water.
Let it sit like that for a few minutes then shake the can. This will cause the coconut milk to melt and be smooth again.
04. Can You Get Sick from Coconut Milk?
If you are lactose intolerant, drinking coconut milk is safe as long as you are consuming it in proper portions.
It’s not very common to get sick from coconut milk unless you are allergic to coconut. If you experience fatigue, abdominal pain, stomach issues, constipation, or diarrhea after consuming coconut milk, you might be allergic to it. So try to avoid coconut and coconut milk in any form.
05. Do You Shake Coconut Milk?
Yes, you do shake coconut milk before opening the can. Coconut milk is made out of fat/cream from coconut and coconut water. As oil and water do not mix, when they can sit on the shelf for a while, they start to separate.
This is why shaking the can before opening results in a creamy, smooth texture.
06. Can You Boil Coconut Milk?
You can boil coconut milk. In fact, coconut milk is one of the key ingredients in South Asian and Indian cuisine.
It’s a great way to add creaminess to curry dishes and to take the heat off. As dairy milk is not as thick as coconut milk, it’s used for all types of recipes from boiled to baked.
Plus, coconut milk adds a sweet aroma to any dish. So yes, you can boil coconut milk.
07. Does Coconut Milk Freeze Well?
Coconut milk freezes very well. But for it to not get spoiled, portioning out the milk is very important.
Instead of freezing the whole thing in a large batch, use an ice tray to pe-portion the milk.
This also helps to not defrost the whole thing when all you need is just a few tablespoons of it. You can just pop a few cubes of coconut milk into your gravy without even needing to defrost!
08. Can You Freeze Evaporated Milk?
No, you cannot freeze evaporated milk. Freezing evaporated milk causes it to change its texture and taste. So it might taste funny and strange after defrosting. Most milk brands advise against freezing evaporated milk.
09. How Long is Coconut Milk Good for after Opening?
Unopened coconut milk can last years before it starts to go bad. But once you open the can, you only have a week to finish it.
More specifically, once opened, a can of coconut milk will last 7-10 days.
If you are someone who uses coconut milk on a daily basis, freezing might not be for you. But if you use it once or twice a week, try to freeze it to maintain the quality for longer.
Now that you know how to freeze coconut milk, hopefully, you will end up using it in many different dishes and recipes.
Do you have any tips we missed? Let us know in the comments!
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