Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Coconut Milk vs Coconut Water

I recently saw coconut water in the grocery store. I read the label and it was pure coconut water, no added sugars or anything else.
I bought one container and took it home, thinking of tropical drinks served in a pineapple or coconut with a pretty straw and umbrella.
When I told Ash and Al about it, Ashley asked me what was the difference between coconut water and coconut milk that I use in cooking curries, etc.
Good question.
I didn't know the answer, so I went on a quest.

Here is the coconut water I purchased. It is made from the young - GREEN - coconut. It is the water that is formed inside the young fruit. It is highly nutritious, with lots of electrolytes and potassium. It has magnesium and manganese and has been recently marketed as an alternative to sports drinks. It is very low in calories and not very sweet tasting.
Contrast and compare that to coconut milk....
Coconut milk is found in the mature coconut, the kind that has turned brown and wooly. Here, the water found inside the young coconut and the flesh or meat of the coconut has melded, producing a rich, fatty, creamy milk. This is used in cooking, but is also the typical coconut, we "Northerners" think of when someone says coconut.

So, we had a taste test. We have all had the coconut milk in my curries in the past, so we didn't bother tasting that.... it isn't really something we wanted to drink plain anyway.
I got out our glasses, chilled the coconut water, poured the slightly clouded liquid into a glass and we had our first tastes.
In a word, YUCK! Not for us. There was a mild taste at first, but then a strong, full taste and a killer aftertaste that made me want to drink vinegar to clear it out of my mouth.
So, our choices when drinking coconut are this, healthy coconut water:
Or this unhealthy coconut milk and pineapple (with rum at times) blended concoction:
I think you all know which one I will be choosing....

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