The Reason You Should Give Canned Coconut Milk A Good Shake Before Using

Can of coconut milk
Can of coconut milk - Happy_lark/Getty Images

If you're looking up curry or smoothie recipes, you'll probably come across quite a few that call for canned coconut milk -- which is a little different from its boxed counterpart. There are a number of different brands and varieties available in grocery stores. The rich elixir can add a bit of extra creaminess to soups, curries, and dishes that it's used in. Coconut milk is the combination of the inner coconut flesh blended with water and strained to create a creamy, milky liquid.

Canned coconut milk is a thick liquid. The cans contain a little extra fat, which could separate from the liquid and rise to the top if left in storage. If you don't often cook with the milk, you may be confused at the sight of the separated components. Fortunately, there's an easy fix: simply shake up the can vigorously prior to opening it.

The shaking will help the fat reincorporate with the liquid, making for smoother milk that you can use in your recipes. Better yet, even if you didn't shake things up before opening, you can still emulsify the mixture.

Read more: The 15 Best Milk Brands, Ranked

Mix Up The Coconut Milk To Blend It Completely

Open can of coconut milk
Open can of coconut milk - Gagarova Olga/Shutterstock

Of course, you won't know whether the coconut milk has separated simply by looking at the exterior of the can. But getting into the habit of shaking the can up before opening it can help to ensure that the liquid inside is always smooth and ready to pour.

If you do forget to shake your canned coconut milk before opening the can, you can still easily incorporate the fat back into the water. Grab a bowl and pour the entire contents of the can into it. Then, grab a whisk or a fork and stir the whole thing quickly until it's smooth and milky again.

Coconut milk is more likely to separate when the cans are kept in a cooler environment. In one Reddit thread, commenters even note that the milk is more likely to separate in areas with cooler climates -- and you may need a little warm water assistance in addition to shaking the cans. Simply place the can in a bowl of warm water, let it warm up, give it a shake, and pour it into your recipes.

The Separation Could Prove Useful In Some Cases

Thai shrimp coconut milk curry
Thai shrimp coconut milk curry - Natalia Hanin/Shutterstock

The fatty coconut that separates in the can is closer to coconut cream than coconut milk. If you do need coconut cream for a recipe, that separation could actually be a good thing. You can allow the canned coconut milk to rest overnight in the fridge -- the colder temperature will accelerate the separation.

Then, open the can the next day without shaking it first, and carefully scoop out the cream from the top of the can. That cream can also be added to sauces and curries, though it will be slightly thicker than the mixed coconut milk.

The next time you want to add a little oomph to your soups, coffee, or veggie coconut curry ramen, give that can of coconut milk a shake before cracking it open. The motion will mix up the separated fat and water, allowing you to pour it right out of the can and into your recipe.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.