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What to look for (or avoid) in Coconut Milk

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  • What to look for (or avoid) in Coconut Milk

    Is there anything specific I should be looking for, or looking to avoid, in canned coconut milk? The ones I can find in my grocery store are Thai Kitchen and Taste of Thai, both about $2.20/can. Then there was one in the ethnic section for about $1.50/can. The first two have ingredients: coconut, water, guar gum. The last one said: coconut extract, water + some preservative I didn't recognise. I bought all three to taste test, and the first two tasted about the same, the last one was so nasty I just threw it out. What brands do you buy and what are the ingredients. Is there a more economical way to get coconut milk? $2.20/can seems pretty steep.

  • #2
    The only kind I use is the full-fat Thai Kitchen (not their 'lite' crap). Minimal ingredients and no sulphites. The best thing to look for is what comes first, coconut milk or water. All I can say, is you get what you pay for. Inexpensive coconut milk is never a good idea IMO.
    I grok, therefore I am.


    • #3
      I've never tried it myself, but apparently you can make coconut milk from dried coconut. I think the general procedure is to mix it with a small amount of hot water, let it sit, then blend it, then strain it.


      • #4
        I stick to an ingredient list with coconut milk and water. Try to stay away from anything extra their sneaking in there.
        Went Primal: 3/28/2010 - 43 lbs lost!
        Over 15 inches gone!

        Primal Journal ~ Jadeocean


        • #5
          if you can get to a whole foods, their 365 brand is pretty good. I get the case discount and its about 1.20 a can


          • #6
            Avoid the word 'Lite' LOL I've been careless and made this mistake once or twice

            Not sure if this would help, but where are you located? Maybe someone can offer more specific advice if they are in a nearby area...
            "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." -- Virginia Woolf


            • #7
              Lite is of no consequence in this context - except that you're paying for more water.

              Look for something that has just coconut, water- with or without guar. Guar in this case, is used as an emulsifier to keep the fat in solution and is present in literally minute amounts. Minute.

              The very very best coconut milk I have ever had the pleasure to taste, was Wilderness Family Naturals.

              It's a powder - essentially just dried ground coconut. I've known of it for 7 years or so but hadn't felt like going through the hassle of ordering it. Finally I tried it at my brothers house - my uberprimal dear brother - sigh....wish he lived closer. Anyhoo, trying it at his house made me a convert.

              It does have a small amount of casein (milk protein) to keep the fat emulsified *and* a small amount of maltodextrin. Very small.

              But that's a decision each will have to make. I fully realize that making my coconut milk would be the optimal solution. I do have a greenstar juicer...... I could - perhaps should?

              Until then, I have to choose between toxic plastic lined cans and maltodextrin

              Best to you all
              Last edited by cillakat; 10-11-2010, 10:58 AM.

              iherb referral code CIL457- $5 off first order


              • #8
                Wow, I wish I'd known about that coconut powder in time to order some before my upcoming trip! It would be great to put it in my coffee while traveling. Thanks for the tip.
                I'm a quitter...but I'm back now.


                • #9
                  If you are lucky enough, you can also find solid chunks of creamed coconut in the grocery stores. It's kind of in small brick format and you can add water to make it coconut milk or just break off a chunk and eat it as a little snack.
                  I grok, therefore I am.


                  • #10
                    Chaokoh is the coco milk sold the most widely, besides Taste of Thai and Thai Kitchen. I read about it being bad of late! Here's a link for you: My fave is Mae Ploy.
                    Life on Earth may be punishing, but it includes an annual free trip around the sun!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lovestoclimb View Post
                      If you are lucky enough, you can also find solid chunks of creamed coconut in the grocery stores. It's kind of in small brick format and you can add water to make it coconut milk or just break off a chunk and eat it as a little snack.
                      I found some of this in the ethnic section of my local grocery. Forgot I have it in the cupboard, obviously haven't tried it yet. I think I have something to look forward to!
                      My musings

                      The old stuff


                      • #12
                        Not sure if this will help, but for big-time coconut milk drinkers, I've bought coconut milk (Mae Ploy or Chaokoh brand, I believe, both of which I've been happy with) in larger cans....maybe 56 or 64 oz cans? It's much cheaper to buy this way. I recall thinking that I got about 4 times as much coconut milk for not much more than the cost of a retail-size can. I find these larger, restaurant-size cans at Cash & Carry, a local chain that caters to smaller restaurants but sells to anyone who walks in. Cash & Carry is common in the Pacific NW and North Cali, but I imagine there are equivalent wholesale-type stores around the country. Thai restaurants aren't buying coconut milk by the little 15 oz. cans, so if you find the place selling to the Thai restaurant owners, you'll likely find a great price on good quality coconut milk.