How can you use coconut milk and coconut cream in your cooking? Here's the main difference between the two and tips for how to use them.
By now, you've probably noticed that coconut milk has become a popular non-dairy alternative to cow's milk. But have you heard of coconut cream?
If you're unfamiliar with this creamy coconut product, you might want to know more about where it comes from, what it tastes like, and how you can use it in recipes. Today, let's go over the differences between coconut milk and coconut cream. Then, we'll share our favorite fast coconut milk recipes you can make at home!
What Is Coconut Cream?
Coconut cream is a product of coconuts with a thick, creamy consistency. This cream comes from coconut milk, and you'll usually be able to find it in cans at the grocery store. Additionally, you can make coconut cream at home from coconut milk.
To make coconut cream, all you'd have to do is refrigerate coconut milk for several hours. When you come back to check on the coconut milk, you'll notice the top layer is thicker than the yellow substance under it because the cream of coconut floats to the top. You can use this creamy liquid in many recipes since it's compatible with multiple diets.
What Does Coconut Cream Taste Like?
Coconut cream is unsweetened, but that doesn't mean it lacks flavor. Since this thick liquid comes from coconuts, it has a distinct coconut flavor. You can add sweetener if you prefer, but it's not usually necessary.
What Is Coconut Milk?
Coconut milk is the substance that makes coconut cream possible. Coconut milk is another product that comes from the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera L.) tree. Coconuts are 10% water, 38% shell, and 52% coconut flesh, the last of which is the edible part.
To make coconut milk, you must grate coconut flesh into hot water and let it simmer. The amount of water used in this process affects how thick or thin the coconut milk will be. After simmering the flesh, you strain it to ensure there are no leftover bits of coconut flesh remaining in the liquid.
The result is coconut milk that people can enjoy as a substitute for cow's milk or as a thickening agent for different recipes.
What Is Coconut Water?
Another product of coconuts is coconut water. You can probably guess that this liquid is much thinner than coconut milk. One quality that is distinctive about coconut water is its sweetness. While coconut milk comes from the flesh of mature brown coconuts, coconut water comes from young, green coconuts and has a sweeter flavor.
As a coconut matures, much of the liquid inside becomes solid coconut meat. Still, even in brown coconuts, you may be able to find some coconut water.
Can You Replace Coconut Cream with Coconut Milk?
The good news about coconut cream and coconut milk is that although they may be different consistencies, they're very similar. You can use coconut cream in place of milk if you dilute it with additional water. Different coconut cream brands vary on fat content. Depending on how thick your coconut cream is, continue to add water and blend until you get the thin & milky consistency of coconut milk.
Is Coconut Milk Healthy?
Before you go out and buy coconut milk, you might be wondering about its nutritious value. Here are a few health benefits to coconut milk that might help you decide if including coconut milk or cream in your meals is right for you.
- Coconut milk contains phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. These electrolytes can help support your heart, muscle function, bone health, and immune system.
- It contains vitamins C and E and antioxidants, which can help neutralize free radicals.
- Coconut milk can sometimes increase HDL cholesterol levels in the body. Consuming small amounts of coconut milk might help lower bad cholesterol levels.
- It can support digestive health for those with lactose intolerance. It makes a terrific replacement for whole milk.
The History of Coconut Products
Coconuts come from Southeast Asia and islands near the Indian subcontinent. While colonizers spread this fruit all over the coast of Africa, Brazil, and the Americas, many native people groups also brought coconuts to new lands. Ancient people may have used coconut milk in recipes as early as 2,000 years ago.
Where Can You Find Coconut Cream at the Store?
When looking for coconut milk or coconut cream at the store, you may find them in more than one place. For example, it's common to find coconut milk in the milk section where other non-dairy milk options are placed.
Coconut milk with added sugar is suitable for piña coladas and other popular recipes.
Additionally, you may find canned coconut milk and cream in the canned fruit and vegetable section. The difference between coconut liquids in a can and a carton is their dilution.
Coconut milk in a box will generally have more water than a can of coconut milk. Try double-checking the recipe you want to make to discern which kind you should buy at the store.
What Can You Make With Coconut Cream?
After you find coconut cream at the grocery store, you can start making delicious recipes with it! Here are a few typical recipes that call for coconut cream:
- Baked desserts
- Non-dairy ice cream
- Dairy-free whipped cream
- Dairy-free heavy cream
What Can You Make With Coconut Milk?
You can use coconut milk in many recipes where you'd ordinarily use cow's milk. Many people use it for soups, stews, curries, and smoothies. You can also use it as a coffee creamer instead of milk. It also complements Thai food and other Asian cuisines and is often a main ingredient in those dishes.
Discover Easy Recipes for Your Household
Trying coconut cream and coconut milk in new dishes can open up a world of new possibilities. When you're ready to adventure further into the world of unique, easy recipes, we've got everything you need at Jow. From recipes to groceries, we're your sidekick for creating tasty meals!