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.

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.

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