I can’t tell you how excited I am about this post! Here is how it happened. I started having trouble getting my canned full-fat Thai Kitchen coconut milk to separate. I have put at least a dozen cans in the fridge over the last year, sometimes leaving them in there for days, even turning down the temperature in the refrigerator, to no avail. I should pause the story for a second.
Wait, what is coconut cream?
“Coconut cream” or “whipped coconut cream” is the thick cream at the top of a can of separated canned full-fat coconut milk (you can also make it yourself—instructions below). It’s awesome stuff. You can use it any way you would use dairy whipped cream: On top of ice cream, on top of pie, as pie, in parfaits, all by itself… You get the idea. Back to the story…
So what’s a dairy-free girl to do? Well, I took this opportunity to 1) Make homemade coconut cream from whole young coconuts, and 2) Search high and low for other brands of packaged coconut milk that might work. And I decided to only look for packaged brands that were gum-free and BPA-free. And I found two. Score!
Let’s get right to the how-to! First lets start with the most expensive, most time consuming, most crazy delicious option. HOMEMADE. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
Option 1: From young coconuts
In the US whole young Thai coconuts can cost $2.50 to $4.00, depending on where you live (they’re cheaper in California than in Colorado). It takes about two and a half whole coconuts to get a cup of coconut cream, making it the most expensive option. However, what you also get is tons of coconut water, which is also crazy good for you and full of electrolytes. My coconuts had about a cup and three quarters of water in each. Mmm… But back to making the cream:
Open with a knife
1. Lay the fresh young white coconut on its side and carefully trim the pointy tip until some brown is showing, then position it right side up.
2. Put your left hand behind your back (or your right hand if you’re left-handed). Why? This is just a safety measure. I don’t want you accidentally ending up in the emergency room!
3. Using the heel of the knife strike the coconut on a 45 degree angle. Rotate the coconut a little bit, striking again with the knife. Repeat until you make a circle of cuts.
4. Pry the top off with the knife.
5. Pour the yummy coconut water into a large glass. I put mine in big mason jars. Store what you don’t drink right away in the fridge. Note: The water should be clear or slightly yellow. Pink or purple water means it’s gone bad, and you shouldn’t use it.
6. Take a flexible silicone spatula and wedge it between the meat and the inside wall of the coconut.
7. Run the flexible silicone spatula around in a circle, dislocating the coconut meat.
8. You can reach in and remove the coconut meat. Mine all came out in one piece.
9. Repeat the process with two more white coconuts.
10. Add the meat from all three coconuts to a food processor fitted with the S-blade.
11. Puree the coconut, scraping the sides periodically, until it is completely smooth and heavenly.
Makes just over 1 cup of cream.
Or open with the Coco Jack
If you want a really super easy way to open a young coconut, then check out the Coco Jack. We absolutely love this tool. A few taps with a mallet, and the top of the coconut pries right off like a lid. And their little scoop tool is perfect for removing the coconut meat on the inside of the shell. If you use my coupon code spunkycoco you’ll get 10% off your purchase. (As an affiliate, I receive a percentage of the sale at no cost to you.)
But aren’t coconuts dipped in poison for shipping? I had to ask this question myself, since I have only ever bought packaged coconut milk, and I too had heard the rumors. Coconuts are dipped in s
Option 2: Using Packaged Coconut
Don’t want to mess with a coconut? You can also get really yummy coconut cream from Aroy-D and Natural Value coconut milk. Both are gum-free and BPA-free, which is why I am officially switching to these two brands. I bought mine on Amazon, but you can buy these brands for less in Asian grocery stores. The costs listed on the chalk board (at top) are based on the prices I got on Amazon.
1. Open your package of Aroy-D and pour the milk into a large mixing bowl, then freeze it overnight, or until completely frozen.
2. Put the bowl of frozen milk on the counter and let it come to room temperature. This will take all day. Heating it won’t work! Heating it will help it to emulsify again, and we need it separated.
Note: My Aroy-D did not arrive separated. If yours does then skip steps 1 and 2.
3. Place a thin cloth napkin over another large mixing bowl and pour your thawed separated milk into the napkin.
4. Lift the napkin and squeeze some of the water out. Don’t go crazy squeezing or your coconut cream will be too dry. Just remove most of the water.
5. You will be left with a little over two cups of cream (from one 33 oz package).
1. Place a thin cloth napkin over a large mixing bowl and pour the contents of the can over the napkin.
2. Lift the napkin and squeeze some of the water out. Don’t go crazy squeezing or your coconut cream will be too dry. Just remove most of the water.
3. You will be left with almost one cup of cream (from one 13 oz can).
Note: All of my Natural Value cans have arrived partially separated, so I did not freeze them first like I did with the Aroy-D brand. If your cans are not separated at all then first follow steps 1 and 2 for making Aroy-D cream.So from now on I will be using Aroy-D or Natural Value in ALL of my recipes, and I am updating my FAQ page to note that I have switched to these gum-free, BPA-Free brands. Use the blended liquid straight from the package in my recipes, unless otherwise specified.