You feel like making some delicious Thai coconut curry. But the coconut you bought two days ago is finished. Wouldn’t it be great, if you could store coconut for a much longer time?
You may be wondering in such an instance can you freeze coconut. The answer is yes, you can freeze coconut! It will remain fresh throughout, and you can then make some yummy Thai curry any time you please.
However, freezing coconut can be a bit tricky. And if not done right, this wonder food can go rancid pretty quickly. However, if done correctly, coconut can be safely frozen and remain fresh for at least six months.
Coconut can be stored in many forms. Shredded, flaked, cut, or milked; you can freeze them all! However, there are different ways of freezing coconut for longer-term use. Let’s see some of them!
Does Freezing Coconut Damage It?
You can safely store a coconut in the freezer without damaging it. However, sometimes, whole coconuts kept in the freezer may crack. If this happens, there can be water leakage on the shell, followed by mold. This means the coconut has gone bad.
Whole coconuts can also expand in the freezer. You therefore must store them if freezing them whole with ample space to spare. But this really is not a good idea.
It is best to separate the coconut and freeze the coconut water separate from the meat, then store the shredded or whole coconut meat in airtight containers. This way, it will last longer and generally stay good for up to 8 months.
Let’s look at those steps in more detail.
How To Freeze Coconut
Freezing coconut can be a pretty messy process if not done right. Also, if we don’t store coconut meat properly, it may become rancid. This is due to its high oil content.
Before you freeze it, make sure that the meat is white and not yellow or moldy. If so, throw away the coconut.
Here are the steps to store fresh coconut meat:
Step 1: Remove The Husk
Cut away the hard, brown husk surrounding the coconut shell with a sharp knife. Discard the husk.
Step 2: Drain The Shell
Make a hole into the shell and drain all the coconut water inside to a container. This liquid is sweet and contains healthy minerals and vitamins to drink up and help you rehydrate particularly in hot weather.
Step 3: Slice the Coconut Meat
Cut the coconut meat into equal-sized chunks. Depending on what you want to later use it for, the chunks can be big or small.
Step 4: Put In A Freezer Bag
Place the coconut chunks in a freezer bag or airtight container. Try to remove the air from the bags or use vacuum-seal bags before freezing. Always leave some space in the freezer bags as coconut meat tends to expand in the freezer.
Step 5: Date and Label Bags
Add a label to the bags containing the chunks with the date of freezing. Also, it’s a great idea to mention the day it must be used by.
Step 6: Freeze Your Coconut
Pop the bags in your freezer and use them within 8 months.
How To Freeze Fresh Coconut Water
You can freeze coconut water. However, it will rapidly lose a lot of its nutritional value when frozen, so it’s really not the best idea to freeze it, and if you do, don’t push too long on the dates.
If you want to store coconut water in the freezer, then follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Prepare for Flash Freezing
Pour your coconut water into ice cube trays or muffin trays.
Step 2: Flash Freeze Your Tray
Freeze the tray for JUST a couple of hours.
Step 3: Remove The Tray From The Freezer
Remove the tray from the freezer then remove your now frozen chunks of coconut milk from the tray.
Step 4: Bag Up Your Chunks
You can now easily bag up these ‘bite size’ chunks into airtight freezer bags, removing as much air as you can first from the bags before sealing them.
Step 5: Date and Label the Bags then freeze
It is important to date the bags, ideally putting a clear ‘USE BY’ date on the packaging.
How Long Does Coconut Last In The Freezer?
Coconuts that are kept in chunks, shredded or flaked, can stay fresh for up to 8 months in the freezer.
You should store coconut in the freezer immediately after buying it from the supermarket. It may start going bad if kept out for even a few days. The freshest you can freeze it, the better for its longevity in the freezer.
Whole coconuts may go bad after a few days if they crack open in the freezer. The liquid they ooze creates mold over the shell. Their high oil content also causes rancidity over time. So it’s important to first drain the liquid, cut the meat and store it in airtight containers. With no moisture around, the coconut meat will remain fresh longer.
How To Defrost Coconut
You can defrost coconut in many ways. This depends purely on the dish you plan to use it in.
Here are the ways you can thaw them according to your needs:
Using Coconut In A Smoothie/Recipe
Frozen coconut can be directly blended into smoothies and shakes.
- Remove the chunks from the freezer.
- If they are a bit soft, directly toss them into the blender.
- Chunks that are frozen solid can be thawed at room temperature.
- Once thawed slightly, you can blend them or use them in recipes.
Using Coconut In Ice-Creams/ Curries
Sometimes, shredded coconut needs to be defrosted for curries or to be blended in ice-creams. You can semi-thaw them in this case.
- Take out the required amount of chunks from the airtight bag.
- Place them in a bowl or plate.
- Keep the plate or bowl in the fridge for an hour or two.
- The chunks would have thawed a bit but still maintained their stiff consistency.
You can easily use these semi-thawed chunks in your favorite coconut-flavored ice cream or even use the shredded bits in curries or South Indian chutneys.
Can You Refreeze Coconut?
Yes, you can refreeze your coconut chunks. If you defrost the pieces in the fridge, even better. But, avoid doing this over and over again. It can change the texture of the coconut chunks over time. It affects their taste too.
It is best to always cut coconut chunks and freeze them in individual portions. Bag each portion separately. So, you use up one portion at a time while leaving the rest frozen. There is not much need for refreezing involved here.
Never refreeze coconut water. It doesn’t freeze well the first time around, let alone the second.
Freezing Different Variations Of Coconuts
As you know, coconut is a pretty versatile food. Its water is drunk; its oil is pressed, etc. But you can slice or dice the meat in different ways for different recipes. So how do we freeze each of these coconut variations safely?
Can You Freeze Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil can be successfully frozen for around a year or two. Simply pour the oil into an airtight container and pop it into the freezer. You are good for a solid year, at least.
For better results, pour and freeze it in silicone ice trays. Later defrost, only how much you need.
Can You Freeze Coconut Milk?
Coconut milk spoils quickly if left outside. Here are two ways you can freeze it:
- Freezer Bags: Place the milk in an airtight container and keep it in the freezer. Remove it and defrost it at room temperature to use.
- Ice-cube trays: Pour the milk into silicon ice-cube trays and then flash freeze them. Place the frozen chunks in airtight freezer bags and then freeze them.
Can You Freeze Shredded Coconut?
Yes, you can easily separate shredded coconut into individual portions and freeze it. Later on, simply take out each portion from the freezer bags and use it as required.
Can You Freeze Coconut Water?
Although you can freeze coconut water, just like normal water, it’s not advisable to do so. Frozen coconut water loses its nutritional value over time if frozen for too long. It’s always preferable to have fresh coconut water.
Can You Freeze Coconut Flour?
Freezing coconut flour is a great way of preserving it in the long term. If unopened, you can freeze the coconut flour directly in its flour bag. However, it’s a good idea to put another freezer bag around it to avoid the risk of freezer burn.
If it has already been opened, then place the open flour bag in another airtight freezer bag before freezing. Don’t forget to date and label it.
Best Tips For Freezing Coconut
Freezing coconut can be a bit tricky. And if not done right, it can go rancid pretty quickly. Let’s check out some great tips to freeze that coconut meat to last you long!
- Try shredding the coconut instead of storing chunks. This way, you can easily store more individual portions needing less re-freezing.
- Sprinkling your coconut meat lightly with sugar helps preserve it longer. A light dusting is good to not make it too sweet.
- Always leave some space in the freezer bags as coconut meat tends to expand in the freezer.
Coconut Ideas Or Simple Recipes
- Coconut Pudding:
This scrumptious recipe can easily be made in minutes. Simply pop the semi-thawed coconut meat, coconut water, vanilla extract, honey, and sea salt in a blender. Chill the resulting blend for an hour to get delicious coconut pudding!
- Srilankan Coconut Sambol
Defrost shredded coconut at room temperature. This delicious Srilankan dry curry uses shredded coconut made by mixing with ground red chillies, salt, onions, sugar, and lemon juice.
Coconut is nature’s superfood. You can use it in curries, stews, shakes, and smoothies for a power-packed meal. You can easily store it for long periods by freezing it in chunks. Be it shredded, flaked, or simply ground into fine flour, coconut meat is pretty easy to freeze.
Have you ever frozen coconut before? What was your experience?