Salted Caramel Coconut Milk Ice Cream (Addicted to Dates)
Although not local, coconut milk is now very popular. Coconut milk has become extremely popular in recent years, especially with vegans who often use it as a base for raw desserts and cheesecakes. It’s not local if you don’t live in Asia or a tropical country, but it is useful to cook with (say vegan korma curries) and also makes good ‘coconut cream’ by whizzing up the chilled solid part of tinned coconut milk with sugar.
Coconut milk is best avoided for people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) as it could cause tummy pain, and some people are allergic to coconuts. Never use plant-based milks in place of baby/infant formula, talk to your midwife or doctor about suitable brands, if not breastfeeding. Keep these milks away from pets (cats actually have lactose intolerance).
Whether coconut milk is healthy or not, depends on which doctor you ask! Some say that the fact that communities that have lived on it for years with no ill effects, shows that it’s good for you (it also contains lauric acid which is good). Other doctors say that it’s high in saturated fat, so should be avoided. It’s up to you, but balance is likely key.
So ensure the brand you choose is monkey-friendly, as some send terrified tethered ‘slave monkeys’ high up into the coconut trees. They don’t even get to enjoy any of the tasty coconut, that they retrieve. Due to a media outcry, supermarkets say their own brands no longer use such methods. This sounds a bit ‘greenwash’, suggesting that they may still sell brands that do. Biona Organic Coconut Milk does not use monkey harvesting, also in a light version. This company also sells coconut milk powder, to make it up yourself.
Nature’s Charm Condensed Coconut Milk is ideal to keep in the cupboard, either to serve with tinned mandarins (from childhood nostalgia) or to use in your vegan cakes and desserts. This brand is from a family that guarantee the coconuts are not harvested by monkey slaves, and is sold in a zero waste metal tin. If you cook a lot or run a restaurant/hotel, you can order bulk amounts for big discounts, just chat online.
This is a nice dairy-free alternative to a very sweet milk, that is often used as a topping for desserts. The rich flavour of coconut replaces dairy, and offers a cholesterol-free alternative.
Make Your Own Coconut Milk
Homemade Coconut Milk (Simple Vegan Blog) only needs 2 ingredients and 5 minutes in the blender. You can use the leftover pulp to make coconut flour or add to smoothies, oatmeal or energy balls.
If making your own plant milks, a worthwhile investment is a nut milk bag, which can also be used to make vegan cheese and doubles as a sink colander. If you don’t own a juicer, you can also use it to sieve fruits in a blender, to make fresh homemade juice.