Food & Drink

How to get milk and cream from a coconut

Q. Where can I find coconut milk? And what is the difference between coconut milk, cream of coconut and coconut cream?

Coconut milk and coconut cream can be made several ways. The most common way is to shred the coconut meat and simmer it with an equal amount of water, then strain it, pressing out the liquid.

The whole process is repeated with the remaining solids and the resulting liquid is combined. Unless you add something to stabilize it, the fattier coconut cream will rise to the top and can be skimmed off.

Coconut cream can also be made the same way by using a quarter of the water.

The only difference between coconut cream and coconut milk is the fat content; coconut milk is roughly 17 percent fat, while coconut cream is 24 percent fat.

Cream of coconut, however, is a thick, very sweet liquid used in confections and mixed drinks, such as pina coladas.

Coconut milk is used in soups and curries, and coconut cream is used mainly in desserts.

You'll find coconut cream and coconut milk at Asian markets and supermarkets, including Harris Teeter, Earth Fare, Home Economist and The Fresh Market.

The Coco Lopez brand of cream of coconut is available at supermarkets, including Harris Teeter. Look for it with the cocktail supplies. You also can find other brands in Hispanic markets.