Coconut oil has become increasingly popular over the past few years, used as both an edible ingredient and personal care product.
However, many of us might not know the proper ways to store coconut oil.
When stored properly, coconut oil often has the best and longest shelf life of any other oil. But, when stored improperly, the oil can go rancid very quickly.
To figure out how to properly store coconut oil, let’s first examine what it is and how its made.
What is Coconut Oil?
Despite being derived from a plant source, coconut oil is seen as a solid fat because it contains a high concentration of saturated fatty acids. This prevents the oil from oxidizing at high temperatures, making it a favorable cooking substitute for other oils like vegetable oil.
You can purchase coconut oil either refined or unrefined. Both processes involve extracting the meat — the white part — of a ripe coconut from its shell.
Unrefined or virgin coconut oil uses fresh coconut meat, or copra, which is then cold-pressed. This method leaves only the oil with its pure coconut taste.
Refined coconut oil, however, uses dried coconut meat. The white coconut-based substance is then gently refined by using steam to neutralize the oil, stripping away the tropical coconut scent and flavor.
Both versions of coconut oil are effective for different purposes. Unrefined coconut oil is often good for skincare, while refined is typically used for cooking.
You may also come across extra virgin or virgin coconut oil, but unlike olive oil, there are no regulatory standards that distinguish between these two labels. Meat from fresh coconuts is also used to produce coconut milk, which is commonly used as a dairy substitute and contains fat, protein, and other nutrients.
Depending on the temperature of the stored coconut oil, it may be in the liquid, semi-liquid or solid. However, the benefits of coconut oil stay the same no matter what form the oil is in.
Where Should You Store Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil does not require any sort of special storage equipment to keep it fresh for a long time. In fact, where you keep your oil can be a matter of preference. It can be stored unrefrigerated with other pantry products or refrigerated if you prefer it chilled. When stored properly, it can have a long shelf life of up to two years.
Nonetheless, refrigerating coconut oil in the fridge instead of placing it in your pantry can be helpful for different purposes. Storing it in the fridge will cause it to solidify into a curdled form. This property will allow for your coconut oil to stay fresh for as long as possible.
When the refrigerated coconut oil is in a solidified form, it can be harder to use. Thankfully, it has a low melting point of 76 degrees Fahrenheit, making it easy to liquify around room temperature.
If you plan to apply your coconut oil as a moisturizer, hair mask or other beauty applications, it’s often better stored at room temperature where the oil will stay liquified or semi-liquified and easier to spread. However, be sure to store your coconut oil in an airtight container to help it stay fresh for as long as possible.
What Containers Should I Store Coconut Oil In?
Your coconut oil may be sold in different packaging depending on the intended use by the manufacturer. However, there are some storage containers and jars that will allow your coconut oil to stay fresh for longer.
Purchasing your coconut oil in a glass bottle or jar will help to ensure no chemicals from plastic have leached into the product. In addition, keeping the ingredient in a dark glass container will help to keep it fresh for longer because the temperature will be less impacted by light.
If you purchase your coconut oil in a BPA-free plastic bottle or clear glass container, transferring it to a dark container or glass jar will bolster protection from sunlight.
Where to Store Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can be stored in any dark, dry place in your home. These spots can include a kitchen pantry, kitchen cupboard, with your beauty supplies and more.
Do not keep your coconut oil in the bathroom. The moisture from the air, as well as the constantly changing temperature, can have a negative effect on the coconut oil’s texture and its ability to stay fresh.
Also, do not store coconut oil where it will be exposed to direct sunlight, for it can have similar adverse effects.
Extending the Shelf Life of Your Coconut Oil
Extending the shelf life of your coconut oil is not difficult as long as you take care when storing it. Keep it in dry places where it won’t see much constant change in temperature or light.
This factor is why storing it in a kitchen pantry may be the best location for your coconut oil. Similarly, storing it in the refrigerator may also be a good idea because refrigerators are designed to maintain a certain temperature.
Oxygen can also make your coconut oil spoil faster. Find a jar that seals tightly shut to try to avoid your oil going bad prematurely.
How Do I Know If My Coconut Oil Has Gone Bad?
You’ve taken all the right steps, but the time might have come to take a look at your oil and decide if it’s still safe to use. If you’ve had your oil for a long period of time, it’s important to check it periodically to ensure it hasn’t gone rancid.
Common signs to look out for when determining whether your oil has gone bad or not include:
- Unusual odor
- Unusual flavor
If you experience any of the above signs, your oil may have expired.
Storing your coconut oil in metal containers can be dangerous. Under certain circumstances, the oil can react with the metal, causing it to have an unpleasant smell and be potentially harmful to use.
Coconut Oil Benefits and Uses
There are several health benefits that have been attributed to coconut oil, although more research is needed to confirm the efficacy of this tropical substance. Evidence suggests that it can be used to lower obesity levels, reduce blood pressure, prevent heart disease prevention and aid digestion. It can also be used to heal wounds or be used to slow the aging process.
In case you’re still not sure if coconut oil is the right choice for you, check out this list of the endless ways you can utilize it in your everyday life.
- skin moisturizer
- teeth whitener
- makeup removal
- remedy for sunburn
- hair mask
- lip balm
- shaving cream
- homemade deodorant
- cold sore soother
- cooking oil
- pan grease
- salad Dressing
- shoe shine
And so many more!
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