Coconut cream. Just the sound of it is decadent and tropical and certainly more luxurious than its coconut milk counterpart, right? It’s a versatile ingredient, too, that can be used in a variety of recipes.
But since coconut cream has a short shelf life, it’s important to know the best way to store it so that you can get the most out of your purchase, especially as it can be a bit on the pricey side when compared with regular cream.
What is the best way to store coconut cream?
The best way to store coconut cream is in an airtight container in the refrigerator after opening. It should be used within a week of opening (same as coconut water), but I have stretched that out to two weeks before by trusting my nose and not detecting any funky smells.
Depending on the brand, when unopened, it can often remain in the pantry as it is likely to be shelf stable (mainly if you buy the cans).
To ensure that it stays fresh and doesn’t spoil, make sure the lid or container is tightly sealed. If you plan on using only part of the coconut cream, transfer the remaining portion to a smaller airtight container, and this will help it keep longer.
Does coconut cream need to be refrigerated?
After opening, it absolutely should be refrigerated, as it can spoil pretty fast. When you have removed it from the fridge for use, use it right away before its consistency melts and changes, or it loses its lovely velvety flavor. It is also important to stir it or shake it well before use to distribute its numerous fat particles evenly throughout the liquid.
Factors that influence coconut cream storage:
Opened coconut cream should be transferred from the can into an airtight jar or container to prevent contamination and oxidization.
Try not to dip any dirty utensils or fingers into the coconut cream before you pop it into the fridge for storage. Bacteria from dirty fingers and objects can proliferate in the cream, causing it to spoil faster.
Yes, the type of coconut cream can affect storage. Coconut cream that has been processed with stabilizers or emulsifiers will have a longer shelf life than unprocessed varieties. Home-made coconut cream will last a maximum of just 3 days in the fridge due to its completely raw and unprocessed nature, and it cannot be kept pantry stable at all.
Can you freeze coconut cream?
You can definitely freeze coconut cream (just like you can freeze coconut milk), but I find if you have whipped it up with sugar or arrowroot to make a whipped cream, it loses its fluffiness and structure once frozen and thawed, so I would only do so as a last resort, and only if you plan to just use the cream as a component of a hot dish, like a curry.
The cream can last for 3 months or so when frozen. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before use, and be mindful that the freezing process may have affected the texture and flavor.
How to spot spoiled coconut cream?
The first thing I notice with spoiled coconut cream is that it has all separated (the fat from the liquid), and it has a sour smell. The discoloration is another sign it might not be too fresh. Look for clumping/streaking of the oil layer too, which means it is probably spoiled.
Of course, if you notice any mold growing on the surface, throw it away immediately, as spoilt coconut cream can cause food poisoning.
Buy the best coconut cream
As I mentioned above, a lot depends on getting the right brand and container for coconut cream. If you don’t feel like doing all the legwork, we’ve done it for you with our definitive guide to the best coconut cream you can buy.
Coconut milk is thinner than coconut cream, while coconut cream is thicker and contains more fat. The process of making coconut cream may also involve simmering the mixture until only the cream remains.
Canned coconut milk is usually made with one part shredded coconut and two parts water. Coconut cream is generally made of four parts shredded coconut to one part water. Both can be used interchangeably in quite a few recipes.
It won’t kill you (unless you have a coconut allergy), but it isn’t really made for drinking. It is pretty fat-heavy and rich! You could potentially add some water to it to dilute it, but it’s better just to buy coconut milk that has been formulated as a drink.
Yes, in a lot of recipes, you can use coconut milk when you don’t have coconut cream on hand. Coconut milk will have a slightly more diluted flavor and thinner consistency, but I haven’t found a really big difference when I am making my lentil dahl. The only times I wouldn’t are when using coconut cream in a cold dessert recipe, especially one that involves whipping cream, as coconut milk will struggle to get to the right consistency.