Coconut oil, otherwise referred to as Copra oil is a kind of edible oil. It is gotten from the meat of matured coconut or can also be extracted from the kernel. Coconut oil is of two types, namely the Refined and Unrefined coconut oil.
The refined coconut oil is extracted from dried coconut after being subjected to high heat passed through a deodorizing and bleaching process. The Unrefined coconut oil is gotten from the fresh coconut fruit, and the extraction process doesn't require heat.
How long can coconut oil be stored?
You should know that coconut oil can go rancid. Hence, it's advisable for you to understand your coconut's shelf-life and how long to store them. Judging by the natural shelf-life and the best-by-dates, coconut oil can last as long as;
- Natural shelf-life: coconut oil has a natural shelf-life of at least two years. So if you don't remember the last time you bought the previous jar of coconut oil, you need not worry. Most containers come with best-by-dates.
- Best-by-date: The best-by-dates gives you the estimate or interval between which the coconut oil would last. At least before it goes rancid, it must have spent at least two years. Be sure to check the best-by-date on the container before purchasing to be on the safe side.
Containers to store coconut oil
With a natural shelf-life of at least two years, you'd still need to play your part by storing them in suitable containers. Keeping coconut oil in glass jars or dark containers will help prevent the quality of the container. They have a low tolerance for rancidity; hence, nutrients easily break down when exposed to the sunlight.
Instead of storing your coconut oil in metal containers, it's advisable you keep them in glass jars. Metals will react with oil, and corrosion of the metal container will contaminate the oil.
How to store coconut oil
Storing coconut oil depends on your personal preference and, of course, the type of extraction process. Inadequate storage will only increase the rate of degradation in quality before the best-by-date. Here are some tips for storing your coconut oil.
- Keep the lid on: This is very important. Always keep the cover of the jar closed at all times. This helps to prevent microbes from entering the container. Keeping the lid on will also prevent the oil from spilling.
- Store in a dark, dry place: keeping the oil away from sunlight will help prevent the oil from losing its quality. You could keep them in the pantry, cupboard, or kitchen drawer. Oxygen will react with the coconut oil, and it will break down the molecules. This will cause the oil to go rancid faster than if stored in an airtight container.
- Keep Utensils clean: in other to extend your coconut oil shelf-life, endeavor you scoop the oil with clean Utensils. Irrespective of the utensil, if it's wet or dirty, it might introduce bacteria to the oil, making the oil degrade in quality.
How to know if your coconut oil is bad
Below are some of the means of detecting if your coconut oil has gone bad. Note that once any of these factors have been confirmed, you should immediately dispose of the oil.
- Smell: once the coconut oil develops a foul smell, you should dispose of it immediately. A deviation from the initial smell (when it was still fresh) to the foul-smelling odor shows it is terrible.
- Colour: The moment you notice brown or green particles underneath the jar or the oil turn yellowish, this indicates the oil has started going rancid. You should dispose of it immediately.
- Mold: When you notice mold in the container, it shows the action of bacteria that might result from exposure to oxygen. It's not advisable to scoop the mold off the surface of the oil. You should discard the whole jar before it contaminates your recipe.
- Taste: This is the final confirmatory test; when you notice a deviation from the typical taste, you need to dispose of the oil.
How to choose coconut oil correctly
Before setting out to getting your coconut oil or visiting the groceries, understand some basic principles to selecting the best oil. Irrespective of the usage, you don't want to purchase any oil that won't last long or that would give your recipe a foul taste or odor. Here are some tips for choosing coconut oil correctly
- Never buy cheap coconut oil: There's a famous saying that cheap things don't last. Well, it's often true. You should be ready to pay for quality products regardless of the price; however, you need not be extravagant about it. Visit reliable grocery stores to get quality coconut oil.
- Non-hydrogenate: This is very important; make sure you purchase the non-hydrogenated coconut oil. These ones haven't undergone any hydrogenation process. This means the oil's quality is intact and hasn't been modified.
- Purchase ones that weren't chemically processed: make sure you purchase the oil that was naturally extracted. Not the one that was catalyzed by chemicals. Most times, producers use a catalyst to speed up the extraction process. Sometimes, because of an increase in market demand.
- Refined coconut oil: The refined coconut oil has undergone a deodorizing and bleaching process in the presence of very high temperatures.
- Unrefined coconut oil: These are extracted from fresh coconut fruits or kernel. It's also known as cold-pressed oil.