Coconut oil is obtained from the extraction of the pulp of a mature coconut. They are rich in saturated fats responsible for the development of healthy cholesterol. It is not only used for cooking but is also used to help increase the health of skin, hair and overall the body. The two types of coconut oil are; ‘refined,’ and ‘extra virgin’ or ‘virgin’ which is a kind of unrefined version and contains most of the nutrients. Its shelf life depends on its type. For the case of ‘refined’ coconut oil, the machine takes out the oil and refines it, and it can last up to 12-18 months past the use by date even after opening. ‘Extra virgin’ coconut oil can last up to 3-5 years past use by date after opening. Some of the sources also state that its life is indefinite and can be used at any stage.
PURCHASING OF COCONUT OIL:
While purchasing coconut oil, try to check the following:
- Fresh coconut oil will have a rich white creamy color.
- Check its expiration use by date on the bottle. Try to buy coconut oil which has a long-term use by date.
- Read the labels first and pick the healthy coconut oils that do not have chemically refined hydrogenated oils or deodorized.
- Usually organic, virgin or extra virgin coconut oils are worth buying. They will have a mild flavor and scent.
- If you are choosing between liquid and solid state coconut oil, try to buy solid one as is usually not processed and is natural.
- Check if the seals are intact.
HOW TO STORE COCONUT OIL:
Coconut oil has long-term storage life so can be stored easily. It can be stored either in liquid or solid form. When stored in your pantry or cupboard, it can last for about 1-2 years at room temperature even after opening. Virgin or extra virgin have much longer life than simple, refined coconut oil. Glass or plastic containers free from harmful compounds, are best when storing the oil. Coconut oil must always be stored away from heat and direct sunlight. It can be frozen as well if not used frequently. However this makes it difficult to use immediately as it will need to be melted beforehand.
HOW TO HANDLE COCONUT OIL?
Handling of coconut oil is important for its proper and long-term usage. It can have different handling techniques according to your needs. At low temperature, coconut oil becomes solid itself. So, using it before cooking, it must be melted or kept in some container from where you can easily take out. In winters, it can become very solid like a rock. Melting it is necessary before using. Some of the coconut oils are liquid, therefore, try to keep them in an easy to pour bottle. You can also freeze the oil in cubes and use them later for cooking purposes. For the purpose of applying on skin, keep it in such a bottle so that it easily accessible.
COOKING WITH COCONUT OIL:
Coconut oil is an optimal oil choice for cooking. It is a stable oil and can withstand extremely high temperatures. Natural coconut oil has pure coconut type flavor, but refined ones have a neutral taste and can have multiple uses in cooking. Choose according to your needs the type of coconut oil. Coconut oil is used in replacement of butter in popcorns to provide a delicious taste while being a healthier option in comparison to butter. It is also a main ingredient in many recipes such as coconut oil biscuits and coconut crumb cakes. Chilled coconut oil can be used in dough batters and pie crusts. Chicken tenders fried in coconut oil is another mouth-watering dish. Coconut oil has a limitless amount of dishes and recipes that bring a unique and delicious flavor to the table.