You’ve been cooking Thai curry from time to time and always end up with leftovers of canned coconut milk. So, you’re thinking, would freezing coconut milk be an option?
Perhaps, you’re exploring various options for plant-based milk. Since you’re trying a few different kinds of milk simultaneously, you might also think of the possibility of freezing coconut milk.
Let’s go through this article to know more about how to freeze coconut milk, how to thaw it, and also some questions around freezing coconut milk.
Coconut milk is made from coconut meat extract and water. Some brands might add sweetener, preservative and stabilizer. It can be use for drinking and cooking.
So, Can I Freeze Coconut Milk?
The short answer is yes, you can. Keep in mind that being able to freeze a food item and being happy with the quality after defrosting is two different things. And that’s what we’re going to discuss further.
Freezing is a tested way to extend food’s shelf life at your home storage. But, not every food item freezes equally well, coconut milk is one of them.
Similar to almond milk and other fatty foods, freezing coconut milk causes an irreversible separation between fat and water after thawing. Therefore, major producers, such as Kara and Silk, don’t recommend freezing their products. That’s the only concern, and safety aspects are not compromised.
Many people still do it, and this trick works pretty well for many of us. At least we don’t end up with spoiled coconut milk.
Different brands result differently after thawing. So, you might want to try for yourself and see which one gives the best result. Now, let’s touch upon how to freeze coconut milk!
How To Freeze Coconut Milk
You can freeze coconut milk in a freezer-safe container or in ice cube trays. Perhaps, you’re wondering whether you can freeze canned coconut milk. Well, that doesn’t really make sense. Canned coconut milk is shelf-stable and can last at least a couple of years.
The same notion goes for boxed coconut milk. Never freeze coconut milk in its original carton packaging as the liquid expands during freezing, and it may explode in your freezer!
Freezing coconut milk is suggested for leftover milk, instead of an unopened package. Or, when you have one that almost approaches the best-by date.
Do it immediately after opening the package, and you don’t plan to use it within the next few days. Once opened, coconut milk only lasts for a few days in the refrigerator.
For homemade coconut milk, you can also freeze it immediately as it lasts much shorter than the store-bought variety.
How to Freeze Coconut Milk in a Container
Freezing coconut milk in a container is straightforward and takes no time. If you know the amount you usually need for a recipe, this method works very well.
- Portion the coconut milk and pour it into a small container. Leave extra space on the surface to allow for expansion. Seal the container tightly.
- Label the containers. Put the freezing date and amount, so next time you need it, you know which one you should go for.
- Place the containers in the freezer.
How to Freeze Coconut Milk in Ice Cube Trays
If you’re not sure how much coconut milk you will need for your next recipes, consider freezing it in ice cube trays. This is also a popular method to freeze other drinks or sauces as well.
It took a few extra steps compared to the former method, but it’s easier when it comes to thawing.
- Pour coconut milk into ice cube trays.
- Place the trays in the freezer. Leave them for a few hours or overnight to fully freeze.
- Pop the frozen cubes out and transfer them into a freezer bag or container. Squeeze as much air as possible if you use a freezer bag. Seal tightly and let it stay in the freezer until you need it.
How To Thaw Frozen Coconut Milk
You can defrost frozen coconut milk either in the refrigerator or in cold water. If you’re using it for cooked dishes, you don’t even need to defrost it!
Thawing in the Refrigerator
Thawing frozen foods in a refrigerator is considered the safest method. It doesn’t expose the food to room temperature, which may lead to microbial contamination.
Simply move the container into the refrigerator until it melts. Keep in mind that thawing a big block of frozen coconut milk may take time. Do it overnight to get it ready the next day.
Thawing in Cold Water
Defrosting in cold water speeds up the process, but you have to do it properly. Immerse the container in a bowl of cold water. Make sure the container is tightly sealed. Otherwise, bacteria and harmful microorganisms from the water and surrounding environment can get into the container.
If you are using coconut milk for cooking curry or other cooked dishes, you can also throw frozen coconut milk right into the pan. Perhaps, you’re making smoothies? Great! Then you can just pop the coconut milk cubes into the blender.
How to Fix Separated Coconut Milk
As mentioned earlier, coconut milk tends to form separate layers of water and fat. Don’t panic, this is entirely normal. It happens with all emulsion, it also happens with other types of milk, such as almond milk.
You can fix it by stirring the milk thoroughly. If that’s not enough, use a hand blender or just a regular blender to get the right consistency back.
How Long Can You Freeze Coconut Milk?
Frozen coconut milk can last up to 1 to 3 months. Homemade coconut milk lasts shorter than store-bought variety as it doesn’t contain preservatives or processed aseptically. The quality gradually drops, so make sure not to keep it for too long.
After thawing, it is best to use it within a few days. Keep any leftovers refrigerated in a sealed container. If you thaw it in cold water, use it immediately.
What about refreezing thawed coconut milk? It depends. If you defrost it in the refrigerator, it should remain safe to refreeze. But, if you thaw it in cold water, don’t put it back into the freeze unless you cook it into a dish.
Coconut milk is frequently used for Asian cooking—think of Thai curry, mango sticky rice, etc. You can also use it similarly to how you use dairy or other plant-based milk. Make it into smoothies, pancakes, baking, soup, basically whatever calling for milk. Or, you can freeze it for later use by following our guidelines above.
Totally. If you’re planning to use frozen coconut milk for smoothies, consider freezing it in ice cube trays.
In Asian countries, it is common to use coconut milk to make ice cream. But, you can’t directly make it just by freezing coconut milk. You’ll just end up with frozen coconut milk. You’ll need to use other ingredients and follow extra steps to turn coconut milk into ice cream.
Yes, you can do it in a freezer-safe container. Follow similar steps earlier in this article.
If you have a carton pack, it should stay good up to 3 to 10 days after opening. Canned coconut milk only stays up to 5 days in the fridge. Make sure to check the storage suggestion since it may differ on brands.
Coconut milk is definitely a popular plant-based milk. If you don’t use it regularly, you may want to freeze it to extend the shelf life after opening. You can do it in a container or ice cube trays.
Don’t worry if the liquid separates after thawing. You can bring it back to life by stirring it or using a blender. If you’re not pleased with the texture, consider using it for cooked dishes or baking.
Up Next: Does coconut milk go bad?
Featured image by depositphotos.com/serezniy