Tips On Identifying Quality Coconut Oil
How do you tell the difference between a refined or unrefined, virgin or extra virgin, cold-pressed or expeller-pressed and identifying a benefitting one from cheaper grade coconut oils? Fret not, the tips listed below will act as a guide for you to make an informed decision pertaining the best coconut oil.
Extra-Virgin and Virgin Coconut oil
You’re probably familiar with the terms ‘extra virgin’ or ‘virgin’ from the options at the store and even got confused by it. The fact is, the term extra virgin is merely a marketing gimmick intended to make you splurge more when it’s essentially the same as virgin coconut oil.
Virgin coconut oil, as indicated by its name is an unrefined product crafted from the extracting fresh coconut milk or meat. The mark of a high-quality virgin coconut oil is lies in the method of producing it — without the application of heat to preserve the low fatty acid content as well as flavour and aroma. A virgin coconut oil tends to hold a longer shelf life and retains the health benefits from its medium chained fatty acid (MCFAs) content.
You can also rest assured that virgin coconut oil has higher antioxidant capacity compared to refined, bleached and deodorised (RBD) coconut oil. Just like any quality product, the cost of virgin coconut oil is naturally higher than the run of the mill, refined coconut oil.
Taste and smell
Another indicator of a quality coconut oil is its aroma and taste. Opening a jar of organic Virgin Coconut Oil should make you feel like you plucked a coconut straight from the tree and cracked it open — natural. The slight smell of coconut, its pure white colour, and a hint of coconut flavour ensures its quality.
Oil extraction method
As aforementioned, the method of extracting coconut oil, without the application of heat is called cold-pressed. Using this method, the inherent nutrients are enclosed from start to finish.
While expeller-pressed sounds fancy and intriguing, this is one to stay away from. This method uses heat on the coconuts to extract the meat and it destroys all the good nutrients like medium-chain fatty acids and lauric acid.
Packaging and Storage
Coconut oil should be packaged in glass bottles or jars instead of plastic because the latter is known to leak toxins into the oil over time which could be detrimental to our health. Avoid coconut oil packaged in plastic. The humble coconut oil has a pretty long shelf life, lasting up to 2 years. It is solid at temperatures below 24°C (75F) and should not be stored in the fridge, but kept out of direct sunlight.