Cooking School

How to buy and store coconut

By: The Canadian Living Test Kitchen

Author: Canadian Living

Cooking School

How to buy and store coconut

By: The Canadian Living Test Kitchen
Reward yourself with a tropical treat by learning how to buy and store coconut. Here's a primer on what types of coconut you'll find on grocery shelves and some tips for proper storage.

Coconut milk

Look for cans in the Asian food section of the supermarket. This liquid is made by grating fresh coconut meat and covering it with warm water. The mixture is left to stand, then strained through cheesecloth.

Coconut cream
This thick portion of coconut milk, which is naturally higher in fat, rises to the top of the can. You can also buy a product called cream of coconut, but it’s very sweet and not at all the same.

Desiccated coconut

Desiccated simply means “dried up.” This type of dried coconut meat is usually sold unsweetened.

Shredded or Flaked Coconut

These still-moist coconut shreds or flakes are most commonly sold sweetened.


Store unopened cans of coconut milk at room temperature for up to 18 months. Keep unopened bags of desiccated, shredded or flaked coconut for up to 6 months at room temperature. Refrigerate any type of coconut after opening.

Five coconut recipes you'll want to try:

Coconut cream cake

Serve this stunning white cake for a special day. Add candied violets or edible flowers as garnish.

Coconut pinwheels
This fun take on pinwheel cookies is perfect for weekend baking.

Lemon coconut cupcakes
Snow-topped cupcakes with a tangy cream cheese icing and coconut are easy to make – and freeze well too!

Apricot coconut bars
This shortbread base is pricked before baking so that it cooks evenly. Prick it with a fork about every inch (2.5 cm).

Coconut lime macaroons

Use a rasp or fine grater for billowy, finely zested lime rind.

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Cooking School

How to buy and store coconut