One of the most common ingredients we use is coconut milk. But watch out if you’re using any of the most widely available coconut milks or creams it’s highly likely you’re getting a lot more than coconut milk and it’s not good …
In fact many supermarkets options have so little coconut in them it’s surprising they can actually be called “coconut milk”. These products generally have a host of undesirable extras including canola oil and sugar! Even the more “natural” versions usually have questionable additives and preservatives included. So when you’re shopping for your coconut milks get into the habit of looking at the ingredient label. What you see may shock you.

coconut-milk-supermarket

A confusing choice?

Take for example Sanitarium “So Good” Coconut Milk which seems to be pretty popular:
Ingredients:
Water
Coconut Milk 21% (Water, Coconut Cream)
Cane Sugar
Sunflower Oil (contains Soy)
Canola Oil
Tricalcalcium Phosphate
Sodium Bicarbonate
Lecithin
Gellan Gum
Guar Gum
Xanthan Gum
Carrageenan
Salt
Natural Flavour
Modified Starch No. 1450

sanitarium-coconut-milk

Not really coconut milk!

And here is the ingredients for one of the brands that we use Ayam*:
Coconut Kernel Extract (82%)
Water
I prefer to use a Coconut Cream in which case I make sure that ingredients are 100% coconut kernel extract.

*There are about 5 brands available in NZ that don’t have additives. They’re not the most commonly found by long way you need to hunt them out. Also watch out some brands are good for full fat but use gums and additives in the low fat versions like Ayam does.

Also note that there is a concern about BPA with some of these “good” coconut products including Ayam.  My thought is that I would rather avoid the issue with all the additives that we know we are ingesting than worry about possible issue of BPA being potentially injested. (What they say with Ayam is that the cans are not BPA free but they have done testing and no BPA has come through in the testing into the food.) That said, obviously ideally you would have the milk or cream that was free or additives and preservatives and packaged in BPA free packaging.  The real answer at the end of the day is to make your own.   But if for convenience reasons you are going to be buying your coconut milks or creams then  it’s best to know what’s in your purchases and to know your options so you can make an informed decision.

If you want to make your own coconut milk find out how here…