Coconut milk is more than just an excellent substitute for cow’s milk. Collected from coconut, also known as the tree of life, coconut milk is one of the most versatile types of milk that you can come across.
You can use it in cooking different types of cuisine (especially Vietnamese dishes), baking various pastries or you can even use it as your dairy milk on a regular basis. Because of this, a lot of us think that it is a great idea to store coconut milk in our pantries and refrigerators.
If this is the case, it would be best that you know the answer to this question—how long does coconut milk last?
How Long Does Coconut Milk Last?
The answer to this big question would depend on the type of coconut milk that you plan to use—homemade and canned.
If you plan to use homemade coconut milk, you should understand the fact that it will tend to last shorter because it does not contain any preservatives. With that in mind, the homemade coconut will only be able to last for three days when placed in the fridge.
On the other hand, canned coconut milk can last longer as they are formulated with the preservatives needed to keep it fresh for longer. Under this category, you have two types—opened and unopened canned coconut milk.
Determining the shelf life of unopened canned coconut milk is simple. You just need to check out the expiration date, or Best Used Before date printed in the can. Do not confuse this date with the Best By or the Best Before date. These dates are provided by the manufacturer to let the consumer know for how long the milk will remain at its highest and freshest quality.
On the other hand, once opened, the milk in the can will only last for four to six days. That is, considering that you have stored it properly in the refrigerator.
Telltale Signs that the Coconut Milk Has Gone Bad
The duration that we have mentioned is just a guideline. There will be times when the milk will get spoilt faster than you think. Because of that, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the different signs that indicate that the coconut milk has already gone bad. These are as follows:
The most obvious sign of a spoiled coconut milk is a foul sour smell. When you open the can, you will notice it right away or open the refrigerator. At times, the milk will smell like all the other food items in your refrigerator.
White Chunks or Pink Mold
Fresh, safe-to-eat coconut milk will look like all the other types of milk in the market. Because of this, it will be easy for you to spot when coconut milk has already spoiled.
The most obvious sign would be the presence of white chunks. This means that the milk has started to curdle. When you already see signs of pink mold in the surface of the milk, you need to throw the milk right away.
If the milk does not have a weird smell, pink mold or white chunks, the next best thing that you can do is to have a taste of it. Make sure to take only a small sip as you do not want to consume too much of it if it is already spoiled.
Coconut milk usually gives off a sweet taste and creamy texture. If fresh homemade coconut milk no longer has that sweet flavor, it means that it has already spoiled. On the other hand, canned coconut milk will taste stale when it starts to spoil.
If the milk already has a bad taste, don’t swallow it—spit it out right away.
If the coconut milk has exhibited signs of spoilage, you should throw it right away and look for possible coconut milk substitutes.
How to Properly Store Coconut Milk
Of course, you would want to prolong the life of your coconut milk for as long as possible. To do that, you need to store your coconut milk the right way. Here are some tips on how to do that:
Store opened canned coconut milk in a sealed container.
Never store coconut milk in its can. This will only cause the coconut milk to have a can-like taste. It may also be bad for your health.
Instead, transfer the remaining coconut milk in a sealed glass or plastic container before placing it in the refrigerator.
Place unopened can of coconut milk a cool, dark place.
If you want to make sure that the coconut milk will stay at its freshest condition at all times, you need to place the can in a cool and dark place. If possible, you can put it in the refrigerator (without the need to transfer it to a different container, of course!).
If there is no room in your refrigerator, just make sure that you place it in a cool spot in your pantry.
Keep the milk away from other strong-smelling food items in your refrigerator or pantry.
Like all types of milk, coconut milk has the tendency to take on the smell and flavors of the nearby foods in the refrigerator. This is true even if the coconut milk is stored in a tightly sealed container.
With that in mind, you should store the milk far away from strong smelling food items like yogurt, cheese, fish, onion, garlic and many more.
There are lots of things that you can do with coconut milk. But a spoiled coconut milk will do you no good. Because of this, you should know how long does coconut milk last.
The life span of coconut milk may vary depending if it is homemade or canned (opened or unopened). Just keep in mind the guidelines that we have provided, and you can easily tell if your coconut milk is still good to be used.
If you have a few coconut milk secrets that you would like to share with us, please leave a comment below!