Shelf Life of Coconut Oil
Many wonder about the shelf life of coconut oil. In this article, let’s see how long and where they can be stored and how do you tell if it has gone bad.
A glass jar containing extra-virgin coconut oil – my favorite in the pantry. Even if you do not like coconuts, you must store coconut oil in your kitchen due to its amazing benefits. Nowadays, everyone is bidding to find the healthiest way of leading life and committing a grave mistake by avoiding consumption of all kind of fats. Dieticians and health experts recommend the intake of healthy and good saturated fats such as avocado, nuts, some types of fish as well as coconut oil.
Coconut oil, a rich source of essential nutrients, helps in better skin, hair, immunity, improved organ functions and is a good fat burner, provided it is consumed in a moderate quantity regularly.
Before talking about the shelf life of coconut oil, let us look at the types of coconut oil.
Refined or Unrefined?
The extraction process of coconut oil determines whether it is refined or unrefined. Refined oil separates due to heat. It can withstand high temperatures and is used for cooking methods such as frying. People mostly choose refined coconut oil because it is odorless and does not contain any flavor. The shelf life of this type of coconut oil ranges from 18 months to 2 years. It loses certain nutritional benefits based on its refining process.
The different methods of extracting coconut oil are as follows:
Expeller Pressed: It refers to the conventional method that does not use any chemicals to extract coconut oil. A machine physically presses on the coconut and extracts the oil. Later, the extract is deodorized through the steam distillation process. It is the preferred type of refined coconut oil.
RBD: RBD stands for Refining, Bleaching and Deodorizing process in which chemical solvents such as hexane is used to extract coconut oil. This chemical is usually used in dissolving adhesive, glue and cement. The extraction process is commonly used on dried coconut kernels, i.e. copra, a derivative of low-quality or older coconuts.
Unrefined coconut oil, also known as extra-virgin coconut oil is recommended by health experts for regular consumption. It has a slight effervescence and tastes like coconut, which somewhat disappears when the oil is used as a cooking medium. It has the maximum nutritional benefits; the shelf life of extra-virgin coconut oil ranges from 2 to 5 years or sometimes indefinite.
Shelf Life and Storage
The melting point of coconut oil is 76F/24C. In case you store coconut oil above this temperature, you can use it as a liquid form; otherwise; it will be turn hard and you can use it in its solid state. However, the temperature does not affect either the quality or the efficiency of the coconut oil. Since, coconuts hail from a tropical origin, coconut oil can withstand high temperatures. You can increase the shelf life of the coconut oil by storing it in a dark, cool area. Storing it in a refrigerator will make coconut oil as hard as a rock. To soften the solid coconut oil, you must place a closed jar containing the oil in a pan with hot water.
In case you purchase a 5-gallon jar of coconut oil, you may use a dry spoon to scoop the amount of oil required for daily use and store it in a glass container. Usually, a pint or a quart of oil is kept in the pantry to store coconut oil. The refined type expires after a period of 18 months to 2 years, while extra-virgin coconut oil lasts for 2-5 years beyond the expiry date.
Use it as a cooking medium
Coconut oil will add a distinct flavor to your favorite food items. I will suggest you start using a small jar of coconut oil and see if it suits your taste.
Raising or lowering temperatures will yield best results because coconut oil will reach the consistency level of the cooking medium that you used earlier. Let us look at an example. If you like baking and the recipe requires shortening, you can chill a small quantity of coconut oil to get the firm consistency. Coconut oil works as a good replacement for the following items:
- Butter (you have to use 25% less oil compared to the required amount of butter)
- Vegetable oil in cooking
- Vegetable oil as a salad dressing
How do you tell if coconut oil is bad or spoiled?
Yes, Coconut oil can spoil. However, this natural product enjoys a longer shelf life compared to other saturated fats. In case food contaminants, such as a used spoon, are put inside the storage container, your coconut oil will spoil faster. The oil will not spoil immediately, but eventually it turns bad. You must check for mold or bad odor, or foul taste – the basic signs signaling that your coconut oil is not fit to be used.
Enjoy the coconut oil before the shelf life of coconut oil ends and lead a healthy life.
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