Coconut milk is becoming more and more popular in this country. But is the product really as healthy as it is said to be? And what is the best way to use it in the kitchen? We clarify.
Where does coconut milk come from?
More and more consumers are interested in the origin and environmental balance of a product. You can also find out in this section when coconut milk is in season and where you can best buy it.
Origin, season, and price
Coconut milk is an industrially manufactured product. It is obtained from the white flesh of the coconut and water. Coconuts are native to tropical areas. Consequently, they are mainly exported from Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Because of the uniform tropical climate, coconuts grow all year round in the growing countries. Since they are the basis of coconut milk, you can also buy them from us all year round at the following locations:
- in the supermarket
- in the Asia shop
- make it yourself from coconut butter and water
Low-fat milk is a little more expensive and less common than the higher-fat variant. However, there are quality differences between individual brands, for example in relation to the actual coconut content and additional ingredients. Ökotest sometimes warns of pollutants such as chlorate in coconut milk. It is, therefore, best to use organic products. These have the following advantages:
- without chemicals and additives
- more productive due to higher coconut content
- obtained from an ecological mixed culture
- environmental balance
After all, high-quality coconut milk is still the unadulterated natural product of tropical countries. Other cultivation conditions are certainly questionable since fertilizer is increasingly being used and more space is being used. Due to the long transport route to Germany, coconut milk is not climate-neutral here. Nevertheless, with 130 grams of CO2 per 100 ml, it has a good CO2 balance.
How healthy is coconut milk?
Coconut milk is not only vegan and lactose-free, but it also has a lower fat content (20%) than cream or cow’s milk (30-35%). It also contains:
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, C, and E
- Minerals such as iron, potassium, sodium, and magnesium
- antibacterial lauric acid that kills bacteria, viruses, and fungi
The rare medium-chain fatty acids (MCT) contained in milk are particularly good for the body. These are healthy fatty acids. This
- are rarely stored in adipose tissue
- are particularly good for supplying energy to the lymph nodes and liver
- affect the build-up and maintenance of muscle fat
- satiate well and sustainably
- increase strength and endurance
Fact check: Coconut milk used to be considered a high-risk food due to its high fatty acid content. It is said to increase cholesterol levels and thus promote heart disease. But today we know that coconut milk only increases the good cholesterol level. Coconut milk even reduces the risk of heart disease.
Despite the beneficial effects, you should not consume too much coconut milk for various reasons:
- Very rich
- in large quantities leads to weight gain
- initially potential stomach and intestinal problems because of the unfamiliar MCT fatty acids
How do you cook with coconut milk?
So milk is good for our health. So it makes sense to use it more often during cooking. But how do you cook with it?
On the one hand, coconut milk tastes naturally like coconut, on the other hand, it is slightly nutty and fruity-sweet.
It is mostly used as milk. However, the solid part can also be used as whipped cream. Skimmed milk is better for drinking. The thicker milk is more suitable for cooking because it is more productive. Before using it as milk, the coconut milk should be shaken well. Since it cannot be permanently homogenized due to its high-fat content, the water and fat content separate naturally. This creates a separate layer of cream and milk. These are mixed together again by shaking.
Nice-to-know: This is known in the growing countries, in western countries emulsifiers are sometimes added to prevent separation.
Supplement recommendations and alternatives
Coconut milk is mainly used in Asian and Caribbean cuisine. But it can be combined in a variety of dishes:
- Fruits like pineapple or peach
- Mango sauce with banana
- Soups like butternut squash soup or carrot soup
If you don’t like the coconut taste, you can of course use conventional cow’s milk. Almond or soy drinks are alternative vegan options. Yogurt, cream, cream cheese, quark, cashew, or almond paste can also be used for cooking instead of coconut milk.
How do you store coconut milk?
Unopened, coconut milk can be kept almost indefinitely because of the germ-inhibiting lauric acids. However, once opened, it should be consumed within 3 days or stored in the refrigerator. If liquid milk is left to stand for 1 to 2 days, the fat content will settle to the top. If you skimmed that part off, you would have coconut cream. Coconut milk can also be frozen. Stir the contents well and freeze in a new bag or container.
Nice to know: Canned coconut milk should be transferred to a non-metallic container. Otherwise, the can of zinc can be released into the food and damage the kidneys in larger quantities.