Does anyone know the shelf life of organic dried coconut (unsweetened). I'm thinking it lasts a long time, but not sure?
I don't know for sure, but any dried fruit or veg rich in oil should be kept in the freezer so the oil won't go rancid. If properly stored in the freezer (protected from air as much as possible), it should last for months, at the very least.
Desiccated coconut has a shelf life of 12-months when kept in an airtight container in a dry place. I vacuum-seal mine and keep it in the freezer and I'm sure it would be fine even a longer than 12-months because vacuume-sealed there's no air to oxidize the fat, and cold temperatures extends shelf life.
I use a lot of desiccated coconut and purchase it in large quantities, but it never lasts long enough around here to test the 12-month rule. It will probably go from white to light tan to indicate it's getting "old" and oxidizing.
The oil in coconut is the exception to rachelellen's general information. Coconut oil doesn't readily go rancid like other vegetable oils because it's 92% saturated with only 2% polyunsaturated. Saturated fats, in this instance, aren't oxidized easily and don't spoil as quickly as polyunsaturated vegetable oils. It's also resistant to free-radical generation. That's why it was the fat of choice in food manufacturers (especially baked goods) for decades - up until the 1960's and '70's - when cheap vegetable fats took over.
Here is a link that might be useful: desiccated coconut
Grainlady, that's interesting about coconut oil. I had always just stuck my desiccated coconut in the freezer because of the oil content, but now that I think about it, I have had the sweetened, flaked coconut for baking in jars in my cabinet for ages and ages with no problems.
I have a friend who insists that coconut oil is the best oil for popping corn, but I haven't tried it yet as I can't find any in the stores around here.
After much research on the subject, I've used coconut oil for over a decade as our primary fat for cooking and baking (along with butter and olive oil - all in moderation). I've found when using coconut oil I can significantly reduce the amount of fat in much of my baked goods and still get excellent results.
The main brand I use is LouAna and I get it at Wal-Mart in the same area as the vegetable oils and shortening products (it's solid, like shortening, when it's cold, and when room temperature reaches 75Â°-77Â°F or warmer, it quickly softens and eventually liquifies. This is how you know it hasn't been hydrogenated - you want to avoid any coconut oil that has been hydrogenated.
LouAna Coconut Oil doesn't have any coconut flavor or odor. I also use brands that DO have a slight flavor and odor of coconut - Tropical Traditions Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.
I still occasionally come across old recipes that call for coconut butter, coconut oil or palm oil; or copra - as it's known in the U.K.