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What is Coconut Milk?

Coconut milk is made by pressing the white flesh of freshly opened coconuts.  The resulting "cream" is composed mainly of coconut oil (40%) and complex carbohydrates.  This cream is very rich and thick.  It is then diluted with purified water to 17% fat for coconut milk and to 24% fat for coconut cream (see below).

Coconut Milk has a subtle coconut flavor and is richer tasting than other nut and seed milks because of its high fat content.  It can be used as a milk substitute in recipes, poured over cereal, or drank by the glass. With just a little sweetener, it works great for ice cream, puddings, and smoothies.

Wilderness Family Naturals' liquid coconut milk and coconut cream are made using state-of-the-art equipment, and the product has excellent quality.  There is very little separation of the fats, and it pours like other milk.  However, because it is so high in fat (coconut oil), when it is stored at temperatures below 76 degrees these fats solidify, causing the milk or cream to become very thick.  The colder it is, the more viscous the product becomes.  Both the milk and cream can be blended with fruit juices such as pineapple juice, coconut water or water (and maybe a little honey or natural sweetener) to make a less rich coconut milk that pours more easily during the winter months.

Both coconut milk and coconut cream contain the delicious taste of coconuts and are very rich and creamy.  They are packaged in "juice boxes" (called Tetra Paks) and the quality is excellent, much nicer than canned coconut milk.  For more information on processing please see below under More Info.

What is Coconut Cream?

Coconut Cream is made exactly the same way as liquid coconut milk except it has a fat content (coconut oil content) of 24% making it even richer and giving it a thicker, creamier texture.  It can be used as a creamer, or substituted for milk in squash, pumpkin or sweet potato soups, poured over granola or fresh berries like yogurt, or used in curries, in the dip for coconut shrimp, etc.  It also makes great ice cream and pudding.  Cream of Coconut (which can be purchased at your local grocery store) is simply coconut cream that has been heavily sweetened.

Storage:  Both Coconut Cream and Coconut Milk can be stored at room temperature when unopened.  They have an 18 month shelf-life from date of manufacture.  Once opened they should be stored in a refrigerator and used within a few days.

When coconut cream is stored at cooler temperatures it becomes thicker.  At warmer temperatures, coconut cream is more like kefir or runny yogurt, still thick but it will pour.  If it becomes frozen the fats will separate and the entire contents of the package will need to be placed into a blender and re-emulsified.

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More Info

Coconut Cream, Certified Organic, 330 ml Tetra pak Coconut Cream, Certified Organic, 330 ml Tetra pak  
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Coconut Cream, Certified Organic, 330 ml Tetra pak, Case of 12 Coconut Cream, Certified Organic, 330 ml Tetra pak, Case of 12  
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Coconut Milk, Certified Organic, 330 ml Tetra pak Coconut Milk, Certified Organic, 330 ml Tetra pak  
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Coconut Milk, Certified Organic, 330 ml Tetra pak Case of 12 Coconut Milk, Certified Organic, 330 ml Tetra pak Case of 12  
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How are Liquid Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream Processed?

  1. The mature coconuts (10-12 months gestation) are de-husked and de-shelled, then peeled. The remaining white flesh is spray washed and then grated. This soft, fresh coconut meat is then pressed to extract a creamy coconut milk, which is immediately chilled to 4° C (approximately 39° F).  Coconut milk, when kept refrigerated, is only good for about 6 hours; therefore, each batch is processed very quickly once the coconut milk is obtained, usually within the hour.
  2. This "coconut milk" is tested for fat content and adjusted with the use of purified water to the proper concentration:  24% fat for the Coconut Cream, 17% fat for Coconut Milk.
  3. Next the batch is flash heated to 70° C (158° F) and held there for 2 seconds.
  4. Quickly the batch is cooled to 4° C (Refrigerator temperature, 39° F).
  5. Later the batch is flash heated again, but this time to 140° C (284° F) and held there for 4 seconds.
  6. And then it is quickly cooled to 30° C (86° F or close to room temperature).
  7. Now it is ready to go into the tetra paks. Everything is at room temperature when it is packaged and sealed.

Some type of processing is necessary for all coconut milk and cream in order for it to be shelf stable.  Of all the methods available, we prefer the quality and taste of coconut milk produced by this method.  Normally, when coconut milk is canned, it is heated to boiling and then put in the cans which are then sealed and placed in an autoclave-like oven with high pressure and temperatures, for 90 minutes (1½ hours).

On the other hand, when coconut milk or cream is produced with our flash heating and cooling method as described above, very little effect on the taste or quality of the product can be detected.  Most people feel as though this method yields coconut milk and cream that tastes like it is fresh.  Both the milk and the cream pour from the carton with very little separation, and are delicious.

Tetra Pak Material

The tetra pak material is actually a 4-layer laminated carton.  The layer closest to the coconut milk or cream is a food grade polyethylene plastic that is acid resistant and will not breakdown or leach into even high acid foods, such as orange juice and tomato juice.  The plastic never sees any heat during packaging except on the seams when it is sealed.  The tetra pak material used by our company is BPA free.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Do the Tetra Paks (Juice boxes) need to be refrigerated?

Because of the process above, both coconut milk and coconut cream tetra paks are shelf stable for 18 months after the date of manufacture.  They may be stored at room temperature in a pantry or cupboard without any concerns.  However, once opened this product needs to be refrigerated and should be used within a few days after opening.

The colder the conditions these products are stored under the thicker their contents will become.  Shaking is recommended before opening.

Can these products be considered raw?

The liquid coconut milk and coconut cream experience a 2 second heat and a 4 second heat with a cooling cycle in between as described above.  This process has a very minimal effect on the taste and flavor, maintaining qualities similar to freshly squeezed coconut milk and coconut cream.  However, these two heat cycles preclude it from being titled "raw."

Is it Organic?

Yes.  The coconut cream previously sold by Wilderness Family Naturals was not organic, but this current Coconut Cream is Certified Organic.  Both this Coconut Cream and our previous product were Kosher and both contain the same ingredients.

How much Coconut Oil is in the Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream?

The liquid coconut milk is approximately 17% fat (coconut oil).  One 330 ml. carton contains about 3½ tablespoons oil. Cow's milk is generally 2-6% fat, while nut and seed milks are generally lower in fat than any dairy.  Therefore, most people find coconut milk tastes richer when you drink it from the glass or use it as a milk substitute over cereals.

Liquid Coconut cream is approximately 24% fat (coconut oil) and one 330 ml carton contains over 5 tablespoons of oil.  It is even thicker and richer than coconut milk with a consistency closer to heavy whipping cream.  It is generally used by the tablespoon but makes delicious ice cream!

Are there any additives/preservatives added to the milk or cream?

There are no preservatives added to the coconut milk or coconut cream.  However, to keep the coconut cream and milk completely fluid and not allow it to separate, a tiny bit of non-GMO xanthan gum (1/10th of 1%) is added to the milk and cream.