Coconut milk can do wonders to your savory as well as sweet dishes. Not only does it bring a unique sweet flavor, but it also helps in thickening the sauces. This is why coconut milk bottles are often stored in large numbers. But how long can you use coconut milk after bringing it back home?
Coconut Milk has a shorter lifespan, and it is important to learn about the basics before bringing home a bottle of fresh Coconut Milk. The absence of proper storage techniques can lead to the spoiling of coconut milk, even before its expiration date.
What is the shelf-life of Coconut Milk? How to best store Coconut Milk? What spoilage signs to look for? What are the risks of consuming expired Coconut Milk? If all these questions matter to you, continue reading and get all the answers.
What is the Shelf-Life of Coconut Milk?
Whether it is bottled or canned Coconut Milk, the shelf-life of Coconut Milk is relatively shorter. It only lasts for a year. But there is no harm in consuming it a couple of months more past its use-by date, provided that it is not spoiled and stored properly.
After opening the bottle or carton of Coconut Milk, you must refrigerate it and consume it within a week. It is important because the shelf-life of the opened Coconut Milk is only five to ten days.
Coconut Milk keeps its quality and taste for a couple of weeks more after its use-by date. However, you can’t expect the Coconut Milk to last for more than a week after the best-by date.
After opening, it has a shelf-life of ten days, depending upon manufacturers’ recommendations.
|Unopened and Unrefrigerated Coconut Milk||Use-By Date Plus Three to Six Months||–|
|Unrefrigerated Opened Coconut Milk||–||Five to Ten Days|
|Refrigerated Unopened Coconut Milk||–||Best-By Date Plus Three to Seven Days|
|Refrigerated Opened Coconut Milk||–||Five to Ten Days|
|Canned Unopened||Use-By Date Plus Six to Twelve Months||–|
|Opened Coconut Milk||–||Five to Ten Days|
|Homemade Coconut Milk||–||Three to Four Days|
These are the estimated period to tell how long it can keep its quality and not the expiry date. You can use the Coconut Milk even after the printed use-by date, provided that it has no spoilage signs.
What are the Spoilage Signs of Bad Coconut Milk?
There are a couple of spoilage signs to look for to know if your Coconut Milk is still edible or if it has gone rancid. If you see any of these spoilage signs after opening the carton or bottle of Coconut Milk, don’t use it. There is a high chance of getting food poisoning with severe diarrhea and nausea after drinking spoiled Coconut Milk.
Since Coconut Milk has high fat and small sugar content, it tends to develop mold faster. The mold formation on the surface may look like black or green circles floating on the surface of the Coconut Milk.
If it is continuously refrigerated after opening, you may also see small chunks of mold growth at the bottom of the Coconut Milk jar. If you see mold growth on the surface, discard the Coconut Milk immediately.
As your Coconut Milk starts to rot or turn rancid, it gradually forms small chunky white pieces and thickens after that.
The chunkiness of the Coconut Milk after rotting will be different from the solidified Coconut Milk, which you usually see in the bottle.
Taste and Smell Change
If there is no mold growth in the Coconut Milk and you have not noticed any abnormal coagulation occurring, you must conduct a taste and smell test.
Fresh Coconut Milk smells like real coconut, and when it rots, the smell changes. Coconut Milk won’t have a strong smell like vinegar or a bite. So, if you notice any unpleasant or strange smell in your Coconut Milk, it indicates that the milk has gone bad, and you must discard it.
Apart from these spoilage signs, if you notice any signs that are iffy or off, discard the Coconut Milk to be on the safer side.
What Happens If You Drink Coconut Milk After Expiry?
There is no harm in drinking Coconut Milk past its use-by date, provided that it is properly stored as recommended and no spoilage sign is noticed. Drinking old Coconut Milk after its use-by date won’t make you sick. But once it develops spoilage signs, the Coconut Milk becomes inedible, and drinking such milk can make you severely ill, including food poisoning.
Drinking spoiled Coconut Milk can develop food poisoning and other symptoms like upset stomach, painful cramping, vomiting, fatigue, fever, and diarrhea.
You don’t have to worry if you ingest a small portion of spoiled Coconut Milk. But things won’t be the same if you drink it in large amounts or even in a moderate amount of spoiled Coconut Milk.
Can You Freeze Coconut Milk? Refrigerated Vs. Shelf-Stable
Coconut Milk can be frozen but as a whole container. However, there are a few drawbacks to freezing Coconut Milk. However, if you want to preserve your Coconut Milk longer, you must freeze it, and it helps extend the shelf-life up to six months.
Unfortunately, freezing the Coconut Milk will accelerate the process of separation. You will see the cream rising on top while the clear coconut water sits at the bottom when frozen for a long time. But, you can use it by stirring the Coconut Milk while thawing.
After freezing, the texture of the Coconut Milk changes, and the flavor may get altered. The texture gets a bit grainy after freezing. But, if you want to extend the shelf-life of the Coconut Milk, use an airtight container to freeze the Coconut Milk and avoid the separation process and texture change.
In general, both carton and canned Coconut Milk are shelf-stable and may keep their quality even when stored in the pantry at room temperature. Until open, the carton can be stored in a pantry without refrigeration.
Both refrigerated and shelf-stable varieties of Coconut Milk are indistinguishable in their ingredients. But the thing that makes the later version shelf-stable is the Aseptic Packaging.
After opening the canned Coconut Milk, you must refrigerate it continuously in a sealed or airtight container to keep it fresh and edible for up to ten days.
According to the official recommendation of the USDA, opened perishable items like Coconut Milk must be discarded if it sits outside the refrigerator for more than two hours.
It is a strict rule, and you must follow it for all half-open perishable foods, including Coconut Milk. But the rule is only for the opened can of Coconut Milk and not for the sealed and unopened pack of Coconut Milk.
The unopened and sealed Coconut Milk is shelf-stable and may keep its quality in the pantry at room temperature up to the use-by date mentioned on its label.
What are the Best Storage Practices for Coconut Milk?
Coconut Milk is not affordable as it is very highly-priced compared to normal milk. So, if you have bought canned or bottled Coconut Milk, it is important to learn the best storage practices to get the most out of your investment. Here are a couple of storage practices that can help extend the shelf-life of your Coconut Milk.
Keep Away from Heat Sources
The Coconut Milk will last longer if properly stored without any leakage or damage. The container or can of Coconut Milk may damage or leak when exposed to high-temperature fluctuations and heat sources.
So, it is best to insulate the container to preserve the Coconut Milk longer and extend its shelf-life. You must keep it away from heat sources and prevent exposure to high-temperature fluctuations.
Use Plastic Container
If you have a large quantity of leftover Coconut Milk, bring the milk to a boil and let it cool down at room temperature before refrigerating. You must ensure to use a plastic airtight container to store the Coconut Milk in a fridge.
You must not store your Coconut Milk in a metal container because it affects the taste of the milk adversely. Storing your Coconut Milk in a plastic container can help extend the shelf-life of the milk for up to four days.
Alternatives for Coconut Milk if it Goes Bad
In case you forgot to store your coconut milk appropriately and it ended up going bad, you can use the following alternatives:
- Soy milk
- Almond milk
- Rice milk
- Hemp milk
- Heavy cream
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does Coconut Milk Stay Good After Expiry Date?
The unopened can of Coconut Milk will keep its quality for up to four weeks past its expiry date, provided that it is stored properly. The use-by date on the label doesn’t indicate that the Coconut Milk has gone bad or is unusable after that. It only means that the quality and flavor may change after the use-by date, but it is edible.
Does Canned Coconut Milk Go Bad?
Yes, the canned Coconut Milk can go bad. The unopened can of Coconut Milk has a shelf life of two to five years, while the opened can have a shorter shelf life and needs refrigeration after opening. Whether canned or homemade, Coconut Milk tends to go bad like other dairy products.
How Long Can Coconut Milk Be Preserved?
After opening the pack of Coconut Milk, it starts degrading. The thicker Coconut Milk keeps its quality for up to ten days, but it needs refrigeration, while the thinner Coconut Milk starts degrading within a week after opening.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, by now, it is clear how long Coconut Milk lasts and the best storage practices.
Before you bring home a pack of Coconut Milk, you must ensure to check the use-by date, and after opening, you must refrigerate it to keep its quality for up to ten days.
Besides, there are sure spoilage signs to look for before using the leftover Coconut Milk.
Gina P. Shudnow is the brain behind all our scientific research. She is a Registered Dietitian who has been in the field for over ten years. Her nutrition tips have helped several people overcome health issues in the past. She strives to make everybody healthier without compromising on their food diet.