To survive the impending coconut Armageddon, I’m on a mission to identify the best tasting coconut products and horde them all for myself. [Insert evil cackle here.] Believe me: There ain’t gonna be no Thrive TVP crap in my survival kit.
The first coconut product up for consideration? Frozen coconut milk.
A couple of weeks ago, I spotted some packaged frozen coconut milk (no preservatives or BPA!) at the Kojima Store in Kapa’a. After a lazy afternoon in the pool, we chopped up the bag of milk and chomped on the creamy cubes. They were an amazing frozen treat – especially on a humid summer day.
Yes, I know that most folks don’t eat the stuff straight-up. Usually, frozen coconut milk is melted, cooked and/or blended into other foods. But if you’re craving a Paleo popsicle, this is pure awesomeness.
Okay. We’ve established that I love me some frozen coconut milk, but which brand is the best? If you don’t have easy access to pre-frozen coconut milk, can you just freeze the canned stuff and get the same results? Inquiring minds wanna know!
As a public service, this past weekend, I organized a blind taste test of preservative-free frozen coconut milk by assembling a crack team of five picky and opinionated adults: me, Fitbomb, R, HA and C. We also recruited a super-talented (and very fashionable) child taster, I:
Here are the four brands we tried:
Sample A: Anahaw Frozen Coconut Milk. This is the stuff that’s available at the local 99 Ranch store. It’s imported from the Philippines and priced at $2.99 for a 16-ounce package.
Sample B: Anahaw Frozen Grated Coconut. I know this isn’t technically frozen coconut milk, but hey: it’s frozen, and it’s coconut. Two out of three ain’t bad, so I threw it in as a wild card. (I’m CAH-RAY-ZAY like that.) It’s also available at 99 Ranch for $2.99 per pack.
Sample C: Hawaiian Sun Frozen Coconut Milk. Fresh from Hawaii! This is the same brand I tried while on Kauai. I had to do some digging, but found some locally. It’s not cheap: $4.99 for 12 ounces.
Sample D: Aroy-D Coconut Milk. I wanted to see how some home-frozen stuff would fare in our taste test, so I poured my favorite brand of shelf-stable coconut milk in a glass Tupperware and threw it in the freezer. This 33.8-ounce tetra pak of Aroy-D was cheap – about $3.75. I’m a little pissed, though, that Aroy-D no longer comes in the little 8.5-ounce containers I used to buy. Plus, the coconut milk in the enormous boxes just isn’t as creamy and rich; it tastes and looks watered-down. I certainly hope the coconut shortage isn’t prompting Aroy-D to dilute its coconut milk!
To prepare these different brands for my taste test, I chopped all the frozen coconut milk into one-inch cubes…
…and plopped them into bowls labeled A, B, C, and D:
See? Very scientific!
As palate-cleansers (yes, PALATE-CLEANSERS, because that’s how I roll), I put out some strawberries…
…and Bing cherries.
This was a blind test. No one (except me) knew which brands were in the bowls. The panelists took their jobs seriously, taking copious notes as they carefully sampled the frozen cubes and sussed out their favorites.
The seriousness didn’t last for long, though. Finally, I had to reprimand the panel for cracking up too much. PEOPLE! This is serious business!
So…what were the results of our taste test? (Drum roll, please!)
From worst to first:
Our least favorite was Sample B – Anahaw Frozen Grated Coconut.
Turns out that frozen chunks of grated coconut probably aren’t meant to be consumed as-is. Comments from the panelists included: “weird,” “gross,” “bad, frozen, tasteless macaroon,” “dry and powdery,” and “this tastes like someone chewed up a mouthful of coconut, sucked all the flavor out of it, spat it out and froze it.”
And clearly, our pint-sized panelist was not happy with the stuff:
Of course, the comparison wasn’t exactly fair. After all, grated coconut ain’t the same as coconut milk. Among the actual frozen coconut milk samples we tried, the big loser was Sample B: my batch of home-frozen Aroy-D coconut milk:
These chunks were almost as hard and dense as ice cubes. Again, I’m not sure if Aroy-D is diluting their coconut milk these days, but the ice content and watery taste didn’t make our mouths (or teeth) happy. The panelists weren’t impressed; comments included: “icy,” “no coconut flavor,” and “maybe we should’ve stuck the stuff in an ice cream maker instead of straight into the freezer.”
Next up: Sample A – Anahaw brand frozen coconut milk.
We were split on this one. Half the panel thought it was “chalky, gross and eww,” and the other half (myself included) thought it wasn’t bad.
We all agreed, though, that Anahaw’s frozen coconut milk was unappetizingly gray in color. It looked like dirty snow and had the distinct flavor of young coconut – which some love, but others don’t.
At this point, you’re probably wondering if eating frozen coconut milk is a good idea at all. After all, we haven’t exactly had glowing things to say about three of the four samples we tried.
But banish your fears, because we all LOVED Sample C – Hawaiian Sun’s frozen coconut milk!
It was a unanimous vote. Even HA liked it – and she’s a fat-averse coconut milk virgin! Everyone was ooooohing and aaaaaahing at the creaminess, robust coconut flavor, and mouth-fillingly high-fat content. I couldn’t stop stuffing my face with chunks of Hawaiian Sun coconut milk (especially since I was starving after my pre-taste-test trail run with the girls).
I’m so glad Hawaiian Sun won because I have 10 packets of it sitting in my freezer! Yes, it’s the priciest coconut milk of the brands we tried, but if you plan on eating it plain or in a dish where the coconut flavor is going to be highlighted, you should get the good stuff.
And where, you ask, can you get this unadulterated awesomeness? Well, if you live on the West Coast, it’s your lucky day, ‘cause I called up the regional distributor for Hawaiian Sun products and asked them for a complete list of their retailers. Click here for the list. You’re very welcome.
After five adults and one child polished off close to four pounds of coconut milk, we were feeling kind of full – which is a good thing, because I was way too stuffed to partake of the Scream Sorbet that our coconut-hating boys attacked. (According to C and HA, though, the frozen coconut milk mixes nicely with the sorbet.)
Yes, Lil-O, you can have your little bowl of sorbet.
But I’m stickin’ with my plate of fatty, creamy coconut frosties.