Tag Archives: coconut cream

Are Coconut Milk and Water the Same Thing?

Coconut milk and coconut water may sound very similar, as they both contain the word “coconut” and is some sort of liquid from the coconut.  However, coconut milk and coconut water are 2 different things, from different parts of the coconut.

coconut water

A refreshing splash of coconut water.

Coconut water is the clear liquid that comes from the inside of young coconut. It’s been a popular drink in tropical areas, such as India, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and Africa.  Coconut water is sold either fresh, bottled, or canned.  Coconut water drinks sometimes include coconut pulp or coconut jelly.

Street vendors often sell coconuts for drinking.  The vendors often cut it open right in front of the customers to ensure freshness.  Recently, coconut water has been sold as an energy or sports drink that will keep you hydrated.  Coconut water has a high amount of potassium and minerals, and is known to have a low amount of calories, fat and carbohydrates.  It also provides cytokinins, which are essential to cell growth. The drink can even be fermented and made into coconut vinegar.

Coconut milk, on the other hand, is made from coconut meat.  Its made by either pressing grated coconut meat, or bringing out the aromatic taste by pouring hot water or milk through the snowy white grated pile.  The milk has a rich, sweet taste which is probably due to its oil content. Most of the fat is saturated fat.  Coconut milk is often sold canned, sometimes mixed with water to fill it up.  However, it spoils easily after a few days.  There can be thick or thin milk–thick with 20-22% fat content and thin with 5-7%  fat.  Coconut milk is used in many recipes, such as a  Piña colada and even ice cream.

When left to settle, a thick cream floats to the surface of the milk.  Coconut cream is often separated and used in recipes requiring cream.

Coconut: the Fruit with Endless Uses

The coconut is an exotic and delicious tropical fruit (sometimes referred to as a nut or seed) that might have originated from around Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.  When still on the palm and untouched, a coconut has 3 layers: the exocarp (outer skin), the mesocarp (middle layer), and the endocarp (layer that surrounds the seed.  When we see coconuts in the supermarket, however, only the endocarp is not removed.

The parts of the coconut have varying culinary uses.  Coconut oil comes from the seed, and is used for cooking and frying.  The snowy white part of the seed, known as the coconut meat, can used in desserts, dried or fresh.  Coconut chips are now sold to tourists in the Caribbean, Hawaii and some other tropical regions.  The dried coconut meat is often used in sweets such as candy bars.  Coconut butter is a term used for hardened coconut oil, but is also be used for foods made from coconut oil, meat, and milk.  Coconut flour has also been developed for cooking and baking.


Sweet, delicious coconuts, outer layers removed.

Coconut water and coconut milk are often mixed up as the same thing, but they are not.  Coconut water is the clear liquid inside young coconuts, and is a popular drink in the tropics, such as the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands, and India.  Recently, coconut water has been used in sports drinks, because of high potassium and minerals.

Coconut milk is far different from coconut water.  Its made by either by pouring milk or water through grated white coconut, or by simply pressing grated coconut.  It can be refrigerated, and when settled, coconut cream will float to the top.

The coconut’s various parts produce even more products such as nectar, which will be discussed more deeply in another article, as well as more information on coconut milk, water, and other foods.