This question arises because coconut milk is used quite a lot in cooking, but is also popular as a health drink in smoothies. You can even get coconut coffee, well coffee made with coconut milk rather than almond, soy or diary milk. So, to answer the question, What Does Coconut Milk Taste Like and does coconut milk taste like coconut, I tasted different brands including making my own and did a little research below. I have also answered a lot of common questions about coconut milk so please take a look at the whole article.
Coconut milk is a milky-white liquid which is extracted from the grated meat of mature coconuts. The taste is rich due to the high oil content of the coconut meat, most of which is in the form of saturated fat. Since coconut milk is made from the meat of the coconut, the taste is very similar to coconut meat, with a sweet nutty salty flavour.
In this article we will look at and discuss the following:
- How Coconut Milk is Made
- How Much Coconut Milk From One Coconut?
- Are Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream the Same?
- Coconut Can vs Carton: Which is Better?
- Does Coconut Milk Have Lactose?
- Does Coconut Milk Go Bad?
- Does Coconut Milk Need to be Refrigerated?
- Fun Question: Does Coconut Milk Make You Poop?
But first, let’s consider how to make your own fresh coconut milk right at home in an easy 3 step method.
Coconut milk is made from the meat of a mature coconut by extracting the meats liquid. This can be done by placing the coconut into a blender with some water and blending until a smooth consistency is achieved. The resulting liquid can be strained and filtered to remove the solids and leave the creamy coconut milk behind.
Here is Step by Step How To Make Coconut Milk
- The coconut meat and water from one mature fresh coconut
- 1 cup of filtered water
- Add the coconut meat (If you need an easy way to extract the meat from the coconut shell check out this article: How To Remove Coconut Easy in 5 Minutes), coconut water and 1 cup water together and blend.
- Blend on high speed for 5 to 10 minutes; You want to extract as much liquid from the meat as you can. You should notice that the longer you blend the meat for the finer it will become with a smooth consistency.
- Transfer the blended mixture to a sieve and remove the solids to leave a liquid behind. This is the coconut milk and can be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within 2 days.
How Much Coconut Milk From One Coconut?
So how much coconut milk can you expect to make from one large coconut?
A ripe mature coconut will yield about ½ kilogram of coconut meat, which will produce around 5 cups of grated coconut.
The 5 cups of grated coconut will make about 1/2 cup of coconut milk.
One coconut will yield ½ cup of coconut milk.
Both coconut milk and coconut cream are made by boiling the coconut meat with water. However, the difference between coconut milk and cream is in the concentration of coconut meat used and the consistency. Essentially coconut milk and coconut cream are the same with coconut cream having more of the coconut meat in the liquid making it creamier and more concentrated.
Please take a look at the video below showing the differences and taste between Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream.
Alternatively, you can make coconut milk or cream by placing coconut meat into a blender and blending with water to reach the desired consistency.
More water and less coconut meat will give a milkier liquid texture, whereas more coconut meat and less water will give a creamier thicker texture. The resulting liquids can be strained to remove any solids and then stored in the refrigerator and consumed within 2 days.
With the two cans I bought, one coconut cream and the other coconut milk, the only difference between them was coconut milk was 45% coconut with 55% water and coconut cream being 55% coconut with 45% water. Take a look at the picture below.
Coconut milk has a consistency very similar to that of cow’s milk and can be made by bringing one-part shredded coconut in one-part water to the boil then simmering. It is often be used in curries. It tastes like coconut meat with a sweet nutty flavour. Some coconut milk in a can also has coconut cream. The cream may rise to the top of a can of coconut cream so you may need to shake the can before opening to ensure it is mixed.
Coconut cream is a lot thicker, richer and creamier. It can be made by simmering four parts of shredded coconut in one-part water. It tastes much like coconut meat with a sweet nutty flavour. Again you may need to shake the can before opening to make sure the contents are mixed.
I have purchased and used both the canned coconut milk and the carton coconut milk, but I personally prefer the canned version for reasons below.
When you read the ingredients on the labels the canned often contains no additives and often more than twice the amount of coconut content. The carton coconut milk usually has an abundance of added ingredients (often synthetic vitamins and preservatives), which are not so healthy for you or your liver. Although you may find organic brands that don’t contain all the added ingredients. Because carton coconut milk has reduced fat along with additives it remains liquid in the carton so can be used to replace regular cow’s milk.
I prefer canned coconut milk because it is full fat and usually has the solid coconut cream along with the liquid coconut water. They need to be mixed together before using, but means you get richer creamier milk than the carton coconut milk. There are also no additives or added synthetic vitamins and minerals, and is usually best for baking and cooking.
Both coconut milk and coconut cream are great for smoothies. Check our article: 7 Easy & Healthy Dragon Fruit Recipes
Canned coconut milk is better than carton coconut milk as it has no additives and has a thicker consistency.
If you are concerned about BPA’s in the canned coconut milk then you can get organic coconut milk in a can that has no BPA added.
BPA’s are known to cause the following health problems due to being a synthetic estrogen and disrupting the endocrine system: 
- Brain, learning, behavioural and memory impairments
- Cardiovascular problems
- Prostate and Breast cancer
- Sex Hormone and Thyroid disruptions
Coconut milk does not have lactose so it is suitable for a lactose-free diet and safe for those who have a lactose intolerance.
Lactose is a milk sugar protein found in animal milk products and is produced in the milk of animals and humans.
Babies have an enzyme called lactase in their digestive tract enabling the digestion of lactose, however as babies get older the levels of lactase diminish resulting in lactose intolerance.
Coconut milk is a perfect substitute milk for those with lactose intolerance and it also contains no cholesterol.
Coconut milk will go bad if it reaches and passes its best before date. The coconut milk will curdle and have a sour smell. It may also grow mould and may also appear darker in colour and chunky.
Once you open a can of coconut milk you need to store it in the refrigerator and use within a week.
Coconut milk needs to be refrigerated if it is opened and not being used within a couple of days. It will last for a week within the refrigerator.
If you have an unopened can or carton of coconut milk, they will last a few years without being in the refrigerator, but you need to check the ‘Best Before’ dates and ensure they are used before these expiration dates.
For an interesting article on refrigerating rambutan check out our article: Can You Freeze Rambutan Or Do You Refrigerate Rambutan
And now for the fun question:
Coconut milk can make you poop due to the high fat and fibre content. In some individuals, it can also cause digestive upsets such as cramps in the abdomen and diarrhoea.
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