How long can coconut milk sit out?
In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long can coconut milk sit out?” with an analysis of the shelf life of coconut milk at room temperature. Moreover, we are going to discuss different ways to spot bad coconut milk.
How long can coconut milk sit out?
Open can/carton of coconut milk, as well as homemade coconut milk, lasts for about 2 hours if left out at room temperature .
Coconut milk is a perishable commodity and has a lot of water and nutrients present in its formulation so if it is kept out for more than 2 hours, bacteria and other microbes will find their way into your coconut milk and will spoil it.
This happens because bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 4 and 60°C , and at optimum temperature, the bacteria population doubles every twenty minutes .
Therefore, there is a great chance of the coconut milk being already contaminated when left out for more than 2 hours.
Moreover, if the temperature of the surroundings is about 30°C, then the process of spoilage takes place at a faster pace and it is recommended to discard coconut milk that is left out for more than an hour at this temperature.
The only exception to this case is the unopened can/carton of coconut milk which lasts for 6-24 months in the pantry because these products are commercially sterile.
What are the risks of leaving coconut milk out?
When you consume coconut milk that has been left out for more than 2 hours (homemade or opened cartons/cans), you put yourself at a high risk of poisoning.
Coconut milk is highly perishable because it has a very favorable environment for microorganisms’ growth, which is boosted between 4 and 60°C .
Specifically, harmful bacteria, such as salmonella, prefer temperatures between 25 and 35°C . According to studies, at such optimal temperature conditions, the bacteria population doubles every 20 min .
What is the optimum temperature to store coconut milk?
Homemade and opened cans/cartons of coconut milk should always be stored at 4°C or below in the fridge.
Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 4 and 60°C, therefore it is always advised to store coconut milk at a lower temperature to preserve its safety, freshness, and quality for a long time.
How long can coconut milk stay good in the fridge?
An opened can of coconut milk can keep going for 2 to 3 days for optimum taste. On the other hand, an opened carton of milk goes on for around 4-5 days if it is put in the refrigerator properly at or under 4°C.
Ways to spot bad coconut milk
There are a couple of indicators that point out bad coconut milk. You should consider the appearance, texture, smell, and taste of coconut milk to give a final verdict on whether or not it has gone bad.
If you spot a mold or any other organic growth in your coconut milk, then the best thing you can do is to get rid of this coconut milk as it is an indication of bad coconut milk.
If the coconut milk is curdled or has lumps present in it, then it is an indication of bad coconut milk and you should get rid of it.
Coconut milk is rich in fat, so one of the main alterations in coconut milk is fat degradation which can be felt as rancidity or soap-like taste. Coconut milk like this can be harmless to you, but you will likely reject it due to the smell.
If the coconut milk has passed the visual and smell test, then you can go ahead and taste it. If you notice a sour or bitter taste after taking a little sip of milk then it is an indication that the coconut milk has gone bad.
Is coconut milk safe to use after the best-before date?
The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the carton of coconut milk refers to the quality rather than safety so coconut milk doesn’t necessarily go bad immediately after the best before date.
This date refers to the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of coconut milk but you can still use coconut milk that is past this date as long as it was stored properly, there is no leakage in the carton and no signs of mold are present.
Tips to properly store coconut milk
- Store unopened coconut milk cans or cartons in a dry and cool place, avoiding proximity to a stove or any hot places. After opening, move leftovers into the refrigerator.
Cartons should be well sealed, while the coconut milk in cans should be preferentially transferred to airtight containers before going to the refrigerator.
Storing coconut milk in the can favor exposure to air, which can bring contamination, and promote fat degradation .
Furthermore, coconut milk picks up odors and should be stored away from strong-smelling food items like garlic, onion, etc.
- It is better to store coconut milk on a shelf of the refrigerator rather than the door as there is a lot of temperature fluctuation at the door of the fridge and that can harm the quality of coconut milk.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long can coconut milk sit out?” with an analysis of the shelf life of coconut milk at room temperature. Moreover, we discussed different ways to spot bad coconut milk.
- Jay JM. Food – Microbiology. 6th Ed, Aspen Food Science, 2000.