When it comes to milk alternatives, coconut milk is the quintessential out-of-the-box choice. Sipping on this exotic delicacy will have even hardcore dairy drinkers daydreaming of a beachy sunset.
Besides a taste that transports, why is coconut milk so popular? Is it good for you or too high in fat? Read on for the answers to these questions and many more.
Coconut milk is a delicious alternative to dairy milk with its own unique flavor and hint of sweetness. It’s made from the flesh of a mature coconut (aka coconut shreds, flakes, or meat) mixed with water. At the grocery store, you’re most likely to find the rich and creamy version in cans or a thinner version in cartons.
Coconut milk is probably most well-known for the healthy fats it provides. Though a low-fat diet was touted for years, more recent research shows fats don’t need to be feared - in fact they help fill us up and help us absorb vitamins like A, D, and E. Coconut milk is high in saturated fat, one of the types of fat we’re typically recommended to limit, however, research suggests it doesn’t impact cholesterol the same as saturated fat from animal sources. In addition, coconut milk is also an excellent source of MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides).
MCTs are unique in the world of fats. They go straight into your bloodstream without needing to be broken down and head for your liver, where they serve as an energy source. MCTs are less likely to be stored as fat than other dietary fats, and evidence indicates they may decrease appetite and boost metabolism.
Coconut milk has also been shown to be an immune booster and is high in vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and iron.
Related Recipe: Almond Joy Coconut Pulpmeal
To make coconut milk at home, you’ll need to blend coconut shreds, flakes, or meat with water and then filter out the pulp with a nut milk bag. Unless, of course, you have an Almond Cow. Then it’s as simple as adding your ingredients (coconut, water, and any extra flavorings or sweeteners you’d like) and pressing the Cow start button!
You can use coconut shreds, meat or flakes to make your own coconut milk.
There are several reasons why making your own coconut milk is better than buying the store versions.
For starters, you get to choose exactly what goes into your milk. Canned and carton versions often contain at least sweeteners, if not thickeners and preservatives as well. Cartoned versions also contain very little actual coconut, so you’re getting more flavoring and water than anything else. With canned coconut milk, you run the risk of unsavory chemicals like BPA in the aluminum - you’ve gotta be on the look out for “BPA-free” cans, as well as those pesky extra ingredients we mentioned already.
Finally, making your own coconut milk will save you money! It costs about half as much to make coconut milk at home as it does to buy a pre-made carton of coconut milk or flakes to make your own coconut milk with a nut milk maker like Almond Cow.