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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Whole 30 Journey - Coconut Milk Review

As it turns out not all coconut milk is created equal.

I have yet to encounter a can of coconut milk that I didn't like. Its thick and creamy and has a slight hint of coconut flavor. Its great in coffee and on fruit and in baked goods or curries.

However, different brands of coconut milk are better for different purposes. I am going to let you in on the coconut milk secrets that I have learned while on this Whole 30 Journey. I should say that I haven't tried every brand out there, but of the ones that I have tried these are my favorite.

Make sure to read your labels! This is one of the most important things to do while on the Whole 30. Manufactures love to sneak sugar and other yucky ingredients into their products. Most of the coconut milk that is sold in boxes or in the dairy section has either sugar, soy, carrageenan, or other non-Whole-30 friendly ingredients. I have found a few brands that I like and I and sticking to them.

Best in Coffee (and other drinks)
I love 365 Everyday Value Light Coconut Milk. Its organic, score! And it tastes great. The thing with putting coconut milk in your coffee is that it is very thick and gets thicker when chilled. As a result it can clump up in iced coffee. Not an issue when you are drinking hot coffee because the heat from the coffee melts the fats in the coconut milk, but in iced coffee it presents a bit of an unpleasant drinking experience. This is why I use LIGHT coconut milk in my iced coffee. Its thinner than regular coconut milk without being watery and doesn't do the weird clumpy thing that full fat milk does. This brand also made CookingLight's Our Favorite Store-Brand Products list.

You can buy 365 Everyday Value Light Coconut Milk at Whole Foods Markets.

Best on Fruit and Cooked into Recipes (for baking and other dishes)

When I was a kid one of our favorite summertime deserts was fresh fruit and cold cream. We would toss some fresh berries or chopped peaches in a bowl and pour on the half and half. No sugar needed! It was an awesome treat. To this day that is one of my favorite flavors, and coconut milk just takes it to the next level. Thick, creamy and slightly sweet, coconut milk is the perfect topping for fresh fruit. Sprinkle on some toasted coconut shreds and you have a desert fit for Mount Olympus!

Again I love me some 365 Everyday Value Coconut Milk. The reason I love this particular brand of full-fat coconut milk is because it doesn't separate and solidify in cold temperatures. Most full-fat coconut milks will separate, the fatty part will rise to the top and the denser liquid will settle at the bottom. This is a good thing when you are trying to make whipped cream, but not so good when you want to just use the milk to bake with. I like that I can pop open a can of this brand of coconut milk and I don't have to use the whole thing. I can just stick it in the fridge and come back for more at any point without having to remix the water and fats.

You can buy 365 Everyday Value Coconut Milk at Whole Foods Markets.

Best Whipped Cream

Whipped coconut cream is to die for. I mean seriously. Its creamy, light, slightly sweet and slightly coconutty (that is so a word). All you have to do to make coconut whipped cream is take a can of full-fat coconut milk and stick it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Then when you are ready to make your whipped cream, remove the can from the fridge without shaking or jostling it too much. Open the can and scoop out the thick white coconut fat and cream that has risen to the top. Make sure you don't get the clear liquid that is sitting at the bottom of the can. Now just whip up the white stuff until it is the consistency you are looking for. There you go! Coconut whipped cream. Dairy free, vegan, and healthy! Use it on fruit, baked goods, or one of those awesome looking watermelon "cakes."

I really like Chaokoh brand full-fat coconut milk for whipped cream. Truth is, sometimes I don't even whipped it at all. Its so thick and wonderful that I have been known to just scoop it onto some fruit (try grilled peaches!) and go to town. 

You can find Chaokoh brand coconut milk in the Asian section of your grocery store.

What do you use coconut milk for? 
Do you have a favorite brand?
Leave a comment and let me know!


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