Does coconut milk go bad? How long does coconut milk last?

Some questions about coconut milk are often asked -Does coconut milk go bad? How long does coconut milk last? How to tell if coconut milk is bad? Can you freeze or refrigerate coconut milk?

Today we are going to provide all information you need to know about shelf life, refrigeration, and freezing method of coconut milk.

Does coconut milk go bad? 

Yes, coconut milk goes bad like any other non-dairy milk like almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, cashew milk, rice milk, etc.

But, whether coconut milk can go bad or not depends on so many factors like types, storage method whether you store your milk at room temperature, refrigerator or freezer, whether your coconut milk’s carton or can be opened or unopened, and so on.

If you open your coconut milk carton to use in cooking or any other recipe and sit it out at room temperature overnight, it can go bad earlier though unopened canned or carton coconut milk has longer shelf life namely 2-5 years.

According to USDA, any perishable food can go bad if you sit it out for 2 hours at room temperature in the temperature between 40° F- 140°F.

If you squeeze coconut milk at home from the white flesh of coconuts and leave it out more than 2 hours at room temperature, it is started fermenting, microbial growth is faster, and spoils the milk sooner.

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Does coconut milk need to be refrigerated?

Yes, coconut milk needs to be refrigerated. When you leave your homemade coconut milk out of the fridge, various types of bacteria such as spoilage and pathogens bacteria grow fast at room temperature.

If you preserve it in the fridge immediately after squeezing, it can slow down microbial growth, make the bacteria inactive for a certain time and keep it fresh and safe for short periods.

Make sure to store the coconut milk in an airtight mason jar leaving a few inches of space from the top, seal it tight, and preserve it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Don’t keep the jar at the fridge’s door and don’t open your fridge frequently.

You can store unopened shelf-stable coconut milk cartons at room temperature for longer periods. You should not store the unopened shelf-stable store-bought canned coconut milk in the fridge. Once you open it, refrigerate it for short time immediately after every use.

Can you freeze coconut milk?

Yes, you can freeze coconut milk for getting extended shelf-life. The freezing process can keep the bacteria inactive and keep your coconut milk fresh, safe, and healthy for longer periods.

But, how to preserve coconut milk in the freezer whether it is homemade or store-bought? Well, follow the steps below to properly freeze it-

  • Take your ice cube tray and pour each slot of the tray with coconut milk.
  • Store the tray in the freezer until frozen
  • Once frozen, transfer each ice cube of coconut milk into a freezer-safe bag, label it with the date and refreeze them for more extended periods.
  • Whenever you need coconut milk, use them directly in the recipes or use them after defrosting in the fridge.

 How long does coconut milk last?

Homemade coconut milk can last about 2-3 hours at room temperature while in the fridge for up to 4-5 days but the freezer for up to 2-3 months.

Store-bought unopened coconut milk cartons last about 6-24 months or even more at the pantry. Once you open it, you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 7-10 days but in the freezer, it lasts for up to 8-12 months.

Unopened canned coconut milk can be stored at room temperature about 6-12 months after passing the best-by date or expiration date. Once you open it, store it in the fridge for up to 5-10 days and freeze it for up to 2-3 months. 

How to tell if coconut milk is bad?

Fresh coconut milk’s shelf life is not that much if you preserve it at room temperature. But, the question is- how to tell if coconut milk is bad?

Well, there have lots of ways to tell whether your coconut milk is expired or not.

  • Smell your coconut milk if you get a rancid or sour smell, chances that it is already expired. Discard it right away.
  • If you see any mold-like fungus floating on it, it’s a clear sign of bad coconut milk. Avoid consuming it.
  • Pour your coconut milk into a bowl or in your coffee if you see chunky floating on it, chances your coconut milk has already spoiled.
  • If your unopened coconut milk can or carton is bloated strangely, it is an indication of bad coconut milk. Throw it away immediately.
  • The natural color of coconut milk is white. Notice the color of it, if you see it is getting darkened and curdled, it’s a sign of expired coconut milk. Don’t consume it with any recipe.
  • If store-bought coconut milk’s expiration date or best-by date passes, see the signs that we mention here if you notice any of the signs, discard them instantly. It’s already spoiled.        

What happens if you drink bad coconut milk?

Consuming bad coconut can make you sick. When pathogens bacteria grow fast, it spoils coconut milk quickly. Pathogens are mainly responsible for many foodborne illnesses.

Drinking bad coconut milk can cause food poisoning which leads to fever, headache, diarrhea, stomach ache, vomiting, and nausea. If you get sick after drinking expired coconut milk, call your doctor immediately and take proper treatment. 

What to do with bad or old coconut milk?

Though it’s not safe to use bad coconut milk, still you can use it with baking and cooking and other recipes such as coconut flan, tandoori chicken, coconut curry tofu, coconut curry soup, and many other recipes.

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