What’s the difference between virgin coconut oil and the other types available?
Virgin coconut oil is pressed from the flesh of top quality coconuts. The oil is then filtered and packed. Nothing is added or taken away.
The other type of coconut oil is referred to in the foods and cosmetics industries as “RBD”, which indicates refined, bleached and dyed. This type of oil is extracted from the dried flesh of inferior coconuts. The flesh may then me left in the sun or smoke dried. Sun dried coconut flesh (also known as copra) is exposed to flies etc. Smoke dried copra has an intensely smoky flavour, far too strong to enjoy. However it’s been dried, the copra is then pressed to release the oil. To ensure maximum yield, solvents are also used to get out the last vestiges of oil. At this stage the oil is smelly and discoloured so it’s then bleached (because at this stage, like margarine, it is a grey product), and then dyed to get it back to white (as a semi-solid). As with all oils which are extracted or partly extracted by solvent there is an inevitable residue. RBD coconut oil also contains traces of lye and dye.
Virgin coconut oil is virtually the only fat which has not been tampered with in some way.(Source)
What is “extra” virgin coconut oil?
There is no such product. The “extra” is marketing hype and that is all. It has been borrowed from the olive oil industry where it refers to a specific stage in the production of that product. We’d advise avoidance of coconut oil labelled “extra” virgin. If they’re wanting to pull the wool over the eyes with one thing, there may well be others. (Source)
How do I pick the best coconuts to make virgin coconut oil with?
1) Choose dark brown coconuts. The young white coconuts don’t have enough of the white fatty meat to make coconut oil.
2) The coconut should feel heavy for its size
3) Check the 3 germination spores or eyes (dark black spots near the top) are very healthy. The eyes should be hard to touch and not be rotten or smell funky.
4) Looking at the 3 eyes, look at the ‘soft eye’. The ‘soft eye’ is the eye that doesn’t have the shell slightly raised round one side of it. You can also tell by finding the three “stripes” on the shell. These stripes come together between the three eyes. The angle between the two stripes closest to the soft eye is much wider than the other two angles. Once you find the ‘soft eye’ check it for any discoloration, it should look clean.
5) Knock on the coconut. It should not sound hollow, as hollowness indicates the meat inside is drying out. Ideally, when the coconut is shaken vigorously, it should sound like there’s about 1/2-1 cup water. Too much water means not enough meat to make the oil with. Too little water means the meat is drying out so the oil won’t be the best.
6) The ideal coconut, when shaken, will have water inside and be around 12-14 months in age.
What can I use the refined coconut oil for?
The refined coconut oil is better for everyday hair use. I reserve virgin coconut oil for longer hair treatments, and use the refined for everyday hair use. I leave it in my hair for 30mins before I wash it off.
I’ve noticed that some companies heat the oil before they pack it in. Does that mean that it’s no longer virgin coconut oil?
For a product to be labelled virgin coconut oil, it must not be exposed to temperatures above 100F. So long as the temperature is below whatever the labelling requirements for virgin coconut oil specify, it will still be labelled virgin coconut oil.
Is virgin coconut oil suitable for Raw food diets?
Yes, but depending on how strictly you follow the raw food diet, you may prefer to make the oil yourself to control the temperatures the oil is exposed to.
How much virgin coconut oil can I eat a day?
It depends on your lifestyle, how active you are and what part of the world you live in. In the colder months, we need more fat than in the summer months. If you’re more active the you can use more. I think one has to experiment in order to find the best amount.
Is coconut oil too tropical to use in a macrobiotic diet?
For a macrobiotic diet, the best oils for everyday use are flaxseed, olive and sesame oil, depending on your health and healing requirements. The coconut oil is reserved for high heat frying, for dishes such as tempura. It also depends on where you live. For example, in London, I would use less coconut oil because it’s too tropical and too cooling to use there everyday. In the summer month in London, I would use it more often.
However, in Riyadh, I can use it all year round as the climate is hot and coconuts can grow here all year round.
Can I use coconut oil for baking?
Yes, I’ve had success using virgin coconut oil for all my baking needs.
Can I use virgin coconut oil to make pastries?
Yes, I’ve found that you can create the flaky pastry crust with virgin coconut oil. Your flour has to be very cold and your oil has to be slightly frozen. Then, work the solid oil into the flour mixture, like you would do with ordinary butter. Put the whole bowl into the freezer for 10 minutes to chill before repeating this process until the oil has been worked through once more. Chill for 30mins in the fridge. Take out and roll into your desired shape. Chill again for 30 mins. Bake in your preheated oven.
The trick is to work really quickly and ensure adequate chilling time.
Can I put virgin coconut oil on my face?
Absolutely! I slather and massage the oil every night. If you’re using it in the day time, a little goes a long way.
Can I use virgin coconut oil on my body?
Again, you can use virgin coconut oil on your body. Just use it like you would normally use a body lotion.
Can I use dried coconut flakes to make vco?
Yes, dried coconut flakes are fine so long as they are only dried coconut flakes, without any additives or preservatives. Please note, desiccated coconuts flakes are not suitable to make vco. When using flakes, start at Step 5.
Why does my coconut oil smell “off” and have mould on it?
Possible causes of this issue are:
- Coconuts were not fresh to begin with
- Inadequate sterilising of all items used to make vco.
You can remove the mould and use the oil for hair treatments to minimise wastage. I would not advice eating this oil.
Any more questions? Leave a comment or email me and I’ll be happy to answer. 🙂