After making a cup of coffee, you’ve got a half-empty can of coconut milk and no idea what to do with it in the next several days.
You’ve certainly pondered freezing it, but can coconut milk be frozen successfully?
Maybe you use coconut milk to froth only and don’t use it for every day consumption.
It may stay in the fridge for a week and be terrible by the time you’re ready to make another curry.
Please note that this article only discusses canned coconut milk, which is the most common type used in prepared meals.
Is coconut milk freezable?
Before we talk about freezing coconut milk, let’s discuss if it’s a good idea to do so. There’s no point in freezing and thawing a liquid if it turns out to be useless. Fortunately, things aren’t as bad as they appear. The texture does change.
Similar to what happens when we freeze sour cream or other rich dairy products, the proteins and fat separate from the liquid.
However, this isn’t the end of the world. It’s not a good idea to use newly thawed coconut milk in a meal. Your dish would most certainly turn out to be an unappealing jumble of inconsistent texture, far from what you were hoping for.
Most of the texture difficulties may be resolved by blending the coconut milk with a hand blender. It only takes 30 seconds to a minute to bring it back to life and make it useable in the kitchen.
To summarize, coconut milk changes texture when frozen and thawed, however, most of these difficulties are readily remedied. The liquid is ready to use in curries, soups, and other dishes after blending.
Freezing coconut milk
There’s no need to freeze the entire can of coconut milk because it lasts for years unopened. But if you only used as much as you required for that your coffee, and you have any leftovers that you don’t plan to consume in the following few days, freezing appears to be the best option.
Everything I said about the coconut milk drink before applies to the canned version as well. The texture changes when frozen and thawed, however, you may remedy this by mixing it together before utilizing it.
Freezing canned coconut milk
In the freezer, frozen canned coconut lasts about three months. I found that labeling and dating your container before freezing helps to prevent food waste even more. This means you won’t be left scratching your head over what’s in your tub or how long that tub of coconut milk has been sitting in your freezer.
Freezing coconut milk in cartons
Unfinished cartons of coconut milk can also be frozen. I prefer the ice cube tray approach for cartons of coconut milk. This is due to the fact that defrosted coconut milk can separate and have a gritty texture, making it unsuitable for drinking or serving on cereal.
It’s great when cooked into a soup or blended into a smoothie, in my opinion. Again, there’s no need to defrost the coconut milk: simply drop the ice cubes into the sauce you’re creating or blend it right away.
Freezing coconut milk in cubes
If you don’t want to bother about portion sizes, this method is ideal. It takes a little more effort, but it’s usually well worth it. Here’s how to go about it:
- Make the ice cube trays ahead of time. If you want, you can use ice cube bags, but the trays are reusable and environmentally friendly. If at all possible, use trays.
- Fill the trays with coconut milk.
- Place the trays in the freezer and leave them there until the coconut milk cubes are completely frozen. The cubes will take at least 3 to 5 hours to freeze, depending on their size. Remember that just because the top of each cube freezes rapidly doesn’t indicate the liquid underneath has frozen as well. To be on the safe side, I keep the trays in the freezer overnight.
- Fill freezer bags or containers with the cubes. Try to complete this task as quickly as possible. The cubes will not begin to defrost this way. Of course, you can keep the trays in the freezer, but it’s usually easier to toss the cubes into a container and save the trays for another run of freezing.
- Place the freezer bags or containers in a freezer bag or container.
Freezing coconut milk in a container
The best part about freezing coconut milk is how easy it is. There’s no extensive preparation, sophisticated equipment, or anything else that could ruin your day. You’ll only need a few airtight containers and possibly a measuring cup. This is how it works:
- Fill containers with the leftovers. It’s better to portion leftovers if you’re not going to utilize them all in one dish. Allow each portion to be exactly the amount required per dish. You can simply thaw as much as you need this way.
- The containers must be sealed. If you have numerous containers and each one contains enough for a separate recipe, add labels if necessary.
- Everything should be placed in the freezer.
Wasn’t that a piece of cake? No more ruined canned coconut milk in three minutes. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how long those containers can sit in the freezer. The quality of the coconut milk will deteriorate over time, but if used within 2 to 3 months of freezing, it should be fine.
Defrosting coconut milk
The following are the most common ways to defrost coconut milk:
- Refrigerate for at least one night. In the evening, place the container in the refrigerator and thaw the milk in the morning. However, if the container is large, it may take longer than 8 hours to thaw completely. The only drawback is that it takes some preparation.
- In the water. Place the container in a bowl of lukewarm water and leave it there to thaw. Consider changing the water when it becomes ice cold to help things move along faster. Thawing can be done in the fridge or on the counter. If you choose the latter, utilize the product as soon as it thaws.
- Before using the thawed coconut milk, make sure to mix it.
Frozen and thawed coconut milk: how can I use them?
If you want to use the defrosted coconut milk in a dish, try one of the following:
- Frappuccino. Blending coffee and ice cube coconut works really well.
- Ice coffee. Maybe you brew a cup of coffee and want to make it cold? Just add those coconut cubs to your hot coffee and let it cool!
- Curries. There are millions of curry recipes on the internet, and every one of them calls for coconut milk. Look for a recipe that suits your needs and give it a shot.
- Soups. When seeking ways to repurpose thawed liquid, soups are a common choice.
- Pancakes. If you’re tired of chicken curries and Tikka Masala soups, leftover canned coconut milk can be used to make pancakes.
When it comes to food storage and preservation, I sometimes get the impression that most people believe refreezing is the worst thing you can do. However, if done right, it isn’t all that horrible. And correctly typically involves defrosting the food in the fridge before refreezing it or cooking it thoroughly before freezing it again. The goal is to prevent or minimize bacterial development, and it does a good job in either case.