Coconut Oil – A Natural Oil for Numerous Uses
A long time staple product in Asia, Latin America, Oceania, Africa and the Caribbean, coconut oil has in recent years become a lifestyle favorite of people around the world.
Often named the healthiest oil on earth, you can use coconut oil in different kinds of food preparations as well as in skin / hair treatments and for oil pulling.
Praised for it its numerous healthful benefits, pleasant taste, tropical smell and great versatility, coconut oil has positioned itself as a super star fat. It is believed to be very good for the brain, heart, skin, hair, immune system, metabolism, digestion, teeth and weight control. Coconut oil also helps to protect the body by eliminating bacteria, parasites, fungus and viruses.
The coconut is harvested from one of nature’s most diverse creations; the coconut palm. This tropical tree, known as the tree of life, grows in over 80 countries. It needs regular rainfall, high humidity, plenty of sunshine and average temperatures of 27° C / 81° F.
Some of the world’s main coconut producers are Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Brazil, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
Coconut oil is extracted from the ‘’meat’’ part of mature coconuts and processed into two types; unrefined and refined coconut oil. More about that later on.
Surprisingly, coconut oil doesn’t always look like oil; it is very adaptive to temperatures with a melting point of 24° C / 76° F. When the temperature rises, the oil becomes liquid and transparent (or yellow if it’s refined). When the temperature lowers, the oil’s liquid consistency transforms from soft and creamy to solid and hard. You will notice this with seasonal changes – don’t worry, your oil isn’t going bad, this is normal. You can use coconut oil in both liquid and solid form.
Temperature has no effect on the quality or shelf life of coconut oil as it can easily go between solid-liquid and vice versa. It is not necessary to refrigerate coconut oil after opening. It is very resistant to rancidity, even in hot, humid climates.
You can store the oil in your kitchen cabinet if you want it liquid / soft, depending on the climate. Store it in the fridge if you want it to be solid. (Or as I do – one in each, so you always have at hand what you need for a specific use!)
Coconut oil has a shelf life of about two years, longer than any other cooking oil.
Remember to store it out of direct (sun) light and preferably in a glass container.