Coconut milk is gradually replacing regular milk. It’s not just the key ingredient in famous Thai dishes or the hero in diet smoothies. This white liquid is packed with flavors that can change any food or drink in a healthy way. Plus, it’s vegan and low on carbs! But is coconut milk gluten free?
Pure coconut milk is naturally gluten free as it is derived from coconut, which is not related to gluten grains. Canned coconut milk and coconut milk powder might have additives that may contain gluten. Plus, there’s a chance of cross-contamination.
What should you do to make sure that the coconut link you consume is safe for you? When can this purely gluten free product become unsafe for you? Keep reading to find out more!
Table of Contents
Is Coconut Milk Gluten Free?
Coconut milk is an excellent choice in different dishes and beverages as a base. It adds flavor, texture, and body without adding harmful carbs. Plus, it has healthy fat that your body needs. But is coconut milk gluten free? Technically, the answer is a resounding “yes” when you deal with pure coconut milk.
This white liquid is derived from the “meat” of coconut. Since coconut is neither a gluten grain nor related to one, pure coconut milk is 100% gluten free, especially when you make it at home. The problem arises in the case of commercial coconut milk. It’s naturally gluten free, too – but there’s a catch.
Many brands add additives to canned coconut milk. It can be a thickener, texturizer, flavoring agent, preservatives, etc. Quite often, brands fail to ensure that these are gluten free. Plus, the facilities for manufacturing, processing, or storing the products or ingredients may deal with gluten-containing products.
As a result, the coconut milk may come in contact with gluten and end up with gluten because of cross-contamination. The same issue is applicable in the case of coconut milk powder. We are not talking about desecrated coconut. This powder works like regular milk powder, formulated to be mixed with water to form milk.
If you want to learn more about a non-certified coconut milk brand, contact the brand to find out about the steps they take to ensure that the product is gluten free and the facility is clean. It’s possible that a brand has not undergone the tests required to earn the “gluten free” label. That doesn’t mean its product contains gluten.
You can test such a trusted brand by consuming only a small amount and observing how your body reacts to it. But if you’re severely intolerant and even trace gluten can lead to health problems, we would not recommend this test method. Instead, choose a certified brand or make it at home.
Also Read:- Is Eel Sauce Gluten Free?
What is Coconut Milk?
Coconut milk is a popular replacement for mammal-derived milk. It comes from the flesh or “meat” of coconut. Pure coconut milk contains the extract of the white fleshy part inside a mature coconut, along with water that’s added to the grated coconut flesh. It is an opaque white liquid that links a lot like regular milk.
Coconut milk is popular because of its rich flavor and texture. Traditionally, it is an essential ingredient in Southeast and South Asia, East Africa, and Oceania. That’s because coconut is found in abundance in these regions.
Since the colonial area, it has become a part of West African, Caribbean, and tropical Lalin American cuisines. It is gradually gaining popularity globally as a vegan and nutritious substitute for milk. It is now used in baked items, sweets, savory foods, tea and coffee, cocktails and mocktails, puddings, shakes, etc.
Coconut milk usually has two thickness levels – a thick and creamy version and a light and runny version. The first level of extraction generates thick coconut milk, while the second and third extractions from the same pulp produce thin milk.
You can also find packaged coconut milk in cans, bottles, and cartons. To understand the texture and thickness of coconut milk, you will need to check the percentage of water mentioned on the label on the product’s package.
Some brands also have coconut milk in powder form. All you need is to add water to it and get coconut milk of your desired consistency. Remember that this is not the same as desiccated coconut, which is simply grated coconut in dehydrated form.
In addition to the two main ingredients, store-bought coconut milk may contain gums or emulsifiers for texture. They may also contain added coloring and flavoring agents, sweeteners, and preservatives. Always check the list of ingredients to know what the product has.
Coconut Milk Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
Unsweetened coconut milk is considered extremely healthy and can be taken raw or added to foods and beverages. It is full of good fat, and the nutritional value of this product makes it a great choice for fitness enthusiasts. It is also an excellent addition to different types of healthy diet plans.
- It is high in fat and low in carbohydrate content, making it ideal for keto and paleo diets.
- It is derived from plants and is thus a popular choice as a milk substitute in vegan diets.
- Since it does not have dairy content, it is a perfect fit for people with dairy intolerance.
- It is naturally gluten free and, therefore, perfect for celiac or gluten intolerant people.
Unsweetened Coconut Milk: Nutritional Facts per 100 g
The nutritional content of 100 m of coconut milk is as follows –
- Calorie: 230 kcal
- Carbohydrate: 5.5 g
- Sugars: 3.3g
- Dietary fiber: 2.2 g
- Protein: 2.3 g
- Saturated Fat: 21.1 g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.26 g
Thus, coconut milk is a natural source of saturated fat. It also contains vitamins and minerals, including sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, and vitamin C. Some brands modify the vitamin content in their product.
Coconut milk is great for cardiovascular health and the stomach. It is also great for hair, whether ingested or applied topically. It has anti-inflammatory, aunty-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties, too. The MCT content in coconut milk can also enhance metabolism and weight loss.
Coconut Milk vs. Coconut Cream vs. Coconut Water
As explained above, coconut milk is the liquid extract derived from the white fleshy part of a mature coconut. Pure coconut milk contains water and coconut “juice”. Coconut cream is a form of coconut milk – only in a more concentrated form as it contains less liquid.
If you allow thick coconut milk to stand for a while, the thick part will separate from the liquid part of the milk to give you coconut cream. You can also get coconut cream by directly drawing the extract from the coconut pulp without adding water. You can use a juicer for that.
On the other hand, coconut water is a translucent liquid found inside green coconuts. It may also be found inside ripened or brown coconuts before it reaches the stage of complete maturity. It is loaded with nutrients and electrolytes and is used as a health drink in its raw form.
Gluten Free Coconut Milk Brands
Many brands manufacture healthy and gluten free coconut milk. While some are tested and certified, others produce, process, and store pure coconut milk in clean facilities. Here are our favorite gluten free coconut milk brands:
- Native Forest Organic – This coconut milk by Edward & Sons comes in three variants, all of which are certified gluten free. It also has a gluten free coconut milk powder. Each serving of this coconut milk contains 140 cal, 14 g fat, 2 g carbs, and 1 g protein.
- Thai Kitchen – This brand offers organic and non-organic coconut milk with “lite” and “regular” variants. All these products flaunt the “gluten free” mark on the package. The Regular variants contain 120-140 cal, while the Lite variants have 50 cal in each serving.
- Anthony’s Organic Coconut Milk Powder – This dehydrated coconut milk in powdered form proudly bears the gluten free label on the package, indicating that it is tested.
How to Extract Gluten Free Coconut Milk
The safest gluten free coconut milk option is the pure version that you can make at home directly from fresh coconut. Today, we will tell you how to extract gluten free coconut milk of different thickness levels and store them properly.
- Coconut (mature) – 1 piece
- Water – 2-2.5 cups
- Using a hammer and a nail, drill holes into the “eye” of the coconut.
- If the coconut has water inside it, collect it. This can be used instead of regular water for making the creamy liquid.
- Break open the coconut and grate the coconut using a grater.
- Alternately, microwave the coconut for 2-3 minutes to loosen the flesh from the shell. Then, cut the meat into tiny pieces.
- In a blender, put the grated or cut coconut flesh.
- Add 1 cup of plain water or coconut water to the blender.
- Blend for a few minutes until you get a smooth milky liquid.
- Take a bowl and line it with muslin.
- Empty the content of the blender into the muslin to strain the liquid out into the bowl while the shredded coconut remains in the cloth.
- Using a spoon, press down on the coconut in the cloth to ensure that all the milk is strained.
- Store the coconut milk in the bowl, which is your first extract. It is the thickest form of coconut milk.
- Take the shredded coconut in the muslin and put it in a blender.
- Add 1-1.5 cups of water and blend for a couple of minutes.
- Strain the content into a fresh bowl lined with muslin as described above to get your second extract of coconut milk which will be thin and runny.
- You can repeat the steps to get the third extract.
- To get coconut cream, let the first extract stand for a while in a jar. A white fatty layer will rise to the top, leaving a cloudy liquid at the bottom.
- Scoop out this separated white part. This is coconut cream.
- Alternately, run the chopped coconut flesh through a juicer to extract coconut cream.
- You can store coconut milk and cream in a covered container in the fridge for about five days.
- You can also put the milk in an ice tray and the cream in a freezer-proof container and freeze them for about a month.
Coconut milk is a healthy choice for different kinds of diets. But is coconut milk gluten free and ideal for celiac or gluten intolerant people? Pure coconut milk certainly is, and you can either make it at home or get it from trusted brands. Choosing certified products is ideal though the best option is homemade coconut milk.