Coconut oil is a very stable oil and has a shelf life of about two years.
Of course most jars won’t last anywhere near that long, but it’s good to know that coconut oil doesn’t spoil just like that.
Can coconut oil go bad? While not easily, it certainly can. However if you take care of it properly, it can last you a long time.
In this article I give tips about how to store coconut oil to get the maximum benefits out of it.
Coconut oil and heat
Coconut oil is very adaptive to temperatures. You will find that its consistency changes according to how warm or cold it is.
Around 24° C / 76° F, the oil becomes fully liquid. Once temperatures go below its melting point, the consistency will go from soft and creamy to solid.
In some countries in Asia I saw coconut oil sold in bottles to pour the oil from.
This is great in places with tropical temperatures, but wouldn’t work during most part of a European or North-American year!
Fortunately weather temperature changes have no impact on the quality of coconut oil. Even going back and forth between liquid and solid consistency doesn’t.
Something else is melting coconut oil in your kitchen. More about that in a bit.
This oil is very resistant to rancidity. It has been traditionally consumed in hot, humid climates in the tropics.
Coconut oil does not need to be refrigerated, but it certainly can be.
How to store coconut oil is really a matter of preference: how do you like your coconut oil?
For solid consistency, keep your coconut oil in the refrigerator.
If you want it soft or liquid you can keep it in your kitchen cabinet. Of course the consistency depends on your current temperatures. If it’s too cold, it will also be solid in your cabinet.
You can also store one jar in each to have different consistencies for all your coconut oil uses.
Protect your oil from direct light
It’s important to keep your coconut oil out of direct (sun)light and preferably in a glass container.
Most coconut oil brands use transparant glass jars as opposed to a product such as olive oil which is usually sold in a dark glass container. This is because olive oil is more sensitive to oil oxidation than coconut oil.
I avoid using plastic containers as much as possible, partly because there are more sustainable options. But I also do this due to health reasons.
Plastic comes in different variations, some more health-friendly than others, but it’s a much less stable material than glass.
It’s a long journey from coconut oil’s place of origin in the tropics to your table.
During production, storage and transportation, the oil can be exposed to hot environments.
This is where chemical reactions between the plastic, heat and light might occur.
Using glass is a safer option.
Use only what you need
What about sizes? If you bought a big container of coconut oil, you can scoop out part of it into a smaller jar and keep the rest stored.
This way you only need to refill from the big container once in a while.
It will make your coconut oil last longer, as there is less exposure to light, air and bacteria.
If you need to melt your coconut oil by heating it in your kitchen, keep these 2 things in mind:
1. Apply low heat for melting, using Au Bain Marie or a double boiler pan, which is a similar principle.
2. Only melt the amount of coconut oil that you need this time, rather than melting the whole jar.
Does coconut oil expire? Eventually it does, which is a good sign actually. But with the right way of storing coconut oil, it can last you a very long time. Even over two years.
Tips for using coconut oil: