Coconut milk is a milky-white liquid, produced by grating the coconut pulp. The sweet and full taste of coconut milk is thanks to high-fat content. There are two varieties of coconut milk – thicker and thinner. Thicker coconut milk is made by pressing the coconut pulp, and thinner milk is made with pulp previously dipped in water.
This type of milk is a very common food ingredient in Asia, Oceania, and East Africa. In western cultures, coconut milk is just gaining its popularity. You can make soups with coconut milk, add it to sauces, seafood, and even dessert.
Coconut milk is a great dairy-free alternative. It can be used for making non-dairy cheese and yogurt. Many people with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies salute this substitute, as well as those following the vegan lifestyle.
Dairy milk, as well as other dairy products, turns sour after some time. It’s pretty easy to tell when it’s not safe for use anymore. Is it the same when it comes to coconut milk? How long does coconut milk last? Read this article to find out!
Does Coconut Milk Go Bad?
We know this is the question that’s been bothering you since you sprung out and bought some extra cans of coconut milk on sale. So, without further ado, here’s the answer:
Coconut milk can go bad.
The shelf life of this product is vastly impacted by storage. Inadequate storage of coconut milk will make it spoil faster.
To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, follow the instructions below and the guidelines on the label. Proper care of canned goods will ensure they last for a long time.
The thing is a little different when it comes to homemade coconut milk, though. Please remember that even with adequate care, it will spoil soon. Try to determine how much coconut milk you need for a few days’ time in order to prevent this.
How Long Does Coconut Milk Last?
Coconut milk that comes in a can or a container, comes with a best-by date. If you’ve decided to stock your pantry with coconut milk, check the label on the side for a best-by date. This date doesn’t mean the food in question will inherently go bad. The best-by date means that the quality can be guaranteed by the manufacturer up to that date (specified on the label).
So, to put it into words, after the printed date, the quality will start to decline. This doesn’t mean it will spoil yet, just lose some of the quality.
Proper storage of your coconut milk will ensure longer shelf life. What determines the life of your milk as well as the packaging and the type of coconut milk (thick or thin).
An unopened can of coconut milk will last you good 2 to 5 years with appropriate storage. Always check the wellness of your product before adding it to your meals.
Coconut milk that comes in aseptic containers has a shelf life of six months to a year. This is, of course, if stored unopened. If there is an expiration date printed, use it within a month after that date. Don’t be persistent and try to use it anyways past that time – the quality is bound to be compromised at some point.
Opened cans or containers of coconut milk should be emptied in a week’s time. If this doesn’t work for you, place it in the freezer and prolong its freshness for six more months.
Something crucial to remember: if the coconut milk in question is bought in the chilled area of the supermarket, the container is not aseptic. This means that you have a week, ten days tops, to go through it all.
When it comes to homemade coconut milk, it should be finished in four days. If you made too much, by any chance – you can always freeze it and extend its shelf life for three more months.
How To Store Coconut Milk
Usually, coconut milk is packaged in cans or containers. Please store those containers in a dry and cool place, away from humidity or any source of heat. We suggest placing them in the pantry, but if you’re low on space in yours (we feel the pain), the cupboard works as well.
If you’re wondering how to store your homemade goods, your best bet is placing them in the fridge. If you accidentally made too much milk for your needs, you can place it in the freezer to prolong its life.
A once-opened can or container should be placed in the refrigerator. If it’s packaged in a tin can (and those don’t have a lid if opened), pour the rest in a jar and close it tightly, or use an airtight container.
Something useful to keep in mind: never store unopened containers or cans of coconut milk in the freezer. This won’t extend their life and doing so goes against the manufacturer’s recommendations. However, if you have some leftover milk, you can freeze and use it at a better time. Use airtight containers or ice cube trays.
Extra tip: let your frozen coconut milk thaw in the fridge overnight for the best results.
How To Tell If Your Coconut Milk Went Bad
There are a few ways to tell if your coconut has gone sour. Read this part carefully to learn how to do that.
The first thing you should do is examine the container carefully. If the can or container looks bulgy, it’s gone bad for sure. Containers expand by the release of bacteria – and the bacteria ruin the content of the container. Leaky or rusty cans should be discarded immediately.
If the external appearance of the can looks fine, open it, and look at the coconut milk. It should appear as a creamy white liquid. If you can see fat spots on the surface, don’t be alarmed. The fat and the watery part of coconut milk tend to separate when left in the storage for a while. Shaking an unopened can will re-mix the milk. However, if you already opened the can, use a fork to stir it back to its original texture.
If you can see spots of mold on the surface, this is something to be alarmed about. Coconut milk that looks chunky, dark, or it started to curdle, is spoiled and should not be consumed. Throw this milk out!
The next step is smelling the milk. The sniff test is a good indicator of whether your coconut milk spoiled. If it smells rancid, sour or it’s simply an off smell, place it in the trash. If it passes the sniff test, it’s safe to consume.
For those of you still having doubts about it, even if it looks and smells fine, take a sip. A sour taste is an indicator your milk has gone bad. On the other hand, if it looks, smells, and tastes fine, it’s perfectly safe for consumption. Use this coconut milk without fear of food poisoning.
How Long Does Coconut Milk Last – Conclusion
Coconut milk is great, we agree. There is no doubt about it. Adding thick coconut milk to your soup instead of cream will result in a fuller taste. Adding it to your shakes or iced coffee makes your drink even more delicious. These are just some of the reasons why coconut milk is gaining more and more popularity in this part of the world. As we already mentioned, in Asia, Oceania, and the east part of Africa, this is a beloved ingredient for quite some time now.
So, how long does coconut milk last? Quite a while, if you take good care of it and follow the instructions above. Canned coconut milk is fine for a few years, provided you keep it in adequate storage. Aseptic containers of coconut milk won’t spoil for six months to a year, which is also good.
So, to conclude, coconut milk can go bad. To make sure your coconut milk hasn’t gone bad, take a few moments beforehand to check it out.
First of all, examine the can or container carefully. If it looks fine, open it and look at the liquid. If it started to curdle or has moldy spots, it’s gone sour.
The next step is the smell test. If it smells in any way off or sour, throw it out. Preparing food or drinks with sour coconut milk will spoil the taste, and it can make you ill, too.
If the smell is fine, but you’re still having doubts, sip a little. An off-putting taste is a good indicator your coconut milk has gone bad.
In contrast, if your coconut milk looks, smells, and tastes like coconut milk, it’s safe for consumption. Use it fearlessly!