How long is coconut milk good once opened?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question ‘how long is coconut milk good for once opened’ with an in-depth analysis of shelf life in different mediums. Moreover we will discuss the different methods of storage of coconut milk , benefits of coconut milk and how it goes bad for health. 

How long does coconut milk last at room temperature? 

Coconut milk once opened, it will begin to spoil without refrigeration. Coconut milk can last for as long as 1 day at room temperature.

Check the freshness of coconut milk before consuming it.

According to studies, the global dairy alternatives market is estimated to grow at a rate of 16% over the period 2013-2018. In terms of value, the global dairy alternative beverages market is projected to reach about $19.5 billion by 2020. In 2014, the global consumption of dairy alternatives was 583.2 KT, and is projected to grow at a rate of about 15.2% from 2015 to 2020 (1).

Can you refrigerate/freeze coconut milk?

Yes, you can refrigerate or freeze coconut milk. Shelf life of coconut milk is increased when it is refrigerated or freezed. 

How long is coconut milk good when refrigerated?

Coconut milk that has been refrigerated will keep it good for 4 to 6 days. It can be stored using airtight containers or aluminium wraps kept on the container. 

The shelf life of coconut milk depends on its processing. In general, coconut milk is not sold fresh, rather it is thermally treated in order to increase its shelf life. Possible processing are sterilization, pasteurization and retorting. In the pasteurization process, the milk is heated to pasteurization temperature of between 72 and 75°C for 20 min. The pasteurized coconut milk has a shelf-life of not more than 5 days at 4°C (2).

Retort processing is also known as pressure cooking or autoclave processing and is a common method for in-container sterilization of foods. The pressure needed in the retort is approximately 10 psi above atmospheric pressure for sterilization at 116°C, 15 psi at 121°C and 20 psi at 127 °C. Retort processing done at a combination of 90°C for 15 minutes can be stored up to 4 months at room temperature without affecting its overall acceptability (3).

How long is coconut milk good when freezed?

Coconut milk which is kept in can or covered with cling wrap , or properly maintained and stored can last upto 3 months.

In a study, coconut products were blanched and frozen and their shelf life was determined. Sensory study revealed that the organoleptic properties of the coconut products were within the acceptable range though products showed differences sometimes, after 4 weeks storage compared with fresh samples. The results indicated that the minimum shelf life of the frozen coconut products is 8 weeks (4).

Can you use frozen coconut milk? 

Yes, you can use frozen coconut milk. Coconut milk gets separated when frozen. It is only acceptable for cooking purposes or baking purposes after being frozen. 

How to tell if coconut milk has gone bad?

You can tell whether or not your coconut milk has gone bad by considering its texture and smell. Rancid odor is characteristic of lipid oxidation, which occurs with increasing storage time. Changes of texture with loss of consistency may also occur (3,4). If it smells tangy it means your coconut milk has gone bad and it should be discarded. 

If the texture of coconut milk goes wrong and is curdy then it should not be consumed. Coconut milk may contain mold when it goes bad. Microbial growth causes the coconut milk water and oil layers to become separated (5).

What happens when you use coconut milk that has gone bad?

Using coconut milk that has gone bad may cause many health issues such as gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and extreme food poisoning which leads to intestinal swelling (7). 

How do you store coconut milk after opening? (6)

  • Always store coconut milk in shallow flask containers or canned containers . 
  • It is best practice to store coconut milk in an air-tight container or put a can in a zip lock bag so that the moisture of the fridge or freezer won’t enter and ruin it.
  • Do not let your coconut milk sit for more than 2 hours at room temperature as bacteria grows when it reaches its favorable conditions.
  • Don’t leave coconut milk uncovered, otherwise mold and bacteria will grow for more than 2 hours and spoil all of the coconut milk. 
  •  It is best to consume coconut milk immediately or use it in different recipes or stores as soon as possible to avoid spoilage. 

Is canned coconut milk good to use after the expiration date?

Yes, you can use canned coconut milk after the expiration date. It depends on how you store it and if there are no signs of spoilage. 

According to the USDA, In an effort to reduce food waste, it is important that consumers understand that the dates applied to food are for quality and not for safety. Food products are safe to consume past the date on the label, and regardless of the date, consumers should evaluate the quality of the food product prior to its consumption (8).

Shelf life of coconut milk can be increased by handling it properly and maintaining its storage properly. 

If coconut milk is stored in the freezer, then it can be used after the date of expiration. Otherwise mold will appear on the top of the container and it will give off a bad odor.

Amazing benefits of coconut milk 

Most of the health benefits of coconut milk are related to the fatty acid composition of the milk, which naturally contains coconut oil (5). 

1.Coconut milk aids in weight loss as it is rich in short and medium chain triglycerides which prolong the feeling of satiety which avoids extra cravings and make you eat less.

2.Another benefit is that it contains antioxidants. Coconut milk contains vitamin c and vitamin e. Coconut milk helps to neutralize harmful substances which keeps you healthy (9).

3.Third benefit of coconut milk is it prevents heart disease. It is known to increase HDL cholesterol in the body. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. It has beneficial effects on lipid parameters by decreasing lipogenesis and enhancing the rate of fatty acid catabolism, thus reducing coronary heart disease.

 which makes it heart friendly. 

4.Coconut milk is rich in electrolytes such as phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. By adding coconut milk to your recipes, you can balance your electrolytes in your body (9).

5. Coconut milk contains lauric acid which helps in fighting with bacteria and harmful substances. By consuming coconut milk, you can have a strong immune system and many other health, skin and hair benefits (5,9,10). 

6. Coconut milk is the best substitute for those who are facing the problem of lactose intolerance (1). 

Other FAQs about Coconut that you may be interested in.

Should coconut oil be refrigerated?

Can you eat coconut oil without a gallbladder?

Can you drink coconut milk without cooking?

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we answered the question, ‘ how long is coconut milk good once opened?’ with an in-depth analysis of shelf life in different mediums. Moreover we will discuss the different methods of storage of coconut milk , benefits of coconut milk, how coconut milk can be used and how it goes bad. 

Citation 

  1. Li, Jing, and Senarath Dharmasena. Investigating Economic and Demographic Factors Affecting Consumer Demand for Coconut-milk in the United States. No. 333-2016-14457. 2016.
  2. Narataruksa, Phavanee, et al. Fouling behavior of coconut milk at pasteurization temperatures. Appl therm eng, 2010, 30, 1387-1395.
  3. Sahana, N., and D. Ramasamy. Process optimization and shelf life study of retort processed coconut milk. Pharma Innov, 2019, 8, 134-6.  
  4. Gunathilake, K. D. P. P. Shelf Life and Quality Evaluation of Deep Frozen Coconut Cream, Coconut Scrapings and Coconut Slices. CORD, 2016, 32, 7-7.
  5. Patil, Umesh, and Soottawat Benjakul. Coconut milk and coconut oil: their manufacture associated with protein functionality. J food sci, 2018, 83, 2019-2027.
  6. Milk. The Nutrition Source. Harvard University.
  7. Foodborne illness and diseases. United States Department of Agriculture. 2020.
  8. Food product dating. United States Department of Agriculture. 2019.
  9. Tulashie, Samuel Kofi, et al. Production of coconut milk: A sustainable alternative plant based milk. Case Stud Chem Environ Eng, 2022, 6, 100206.
  10. Kusstianti, Nia, and Sri Usodoningtyas. Coconut milk as an alternative of cosmetic material for thinning hyperpigmentation on the face skin. International Joint Conference on Science and Engineering (IJCSE 2020). Atlantis Press, 2020.