Anyone cooking with coconut oil? Need advice.

rosemarytAugust 15, 2012

I've been reading up on the many salutary benefits of cooking with coconut oil. Supposedly, it's a very healthy alternative to butter and other oils.

Does anyone here have real-world experience in cooking with this stuff?

I just bought a small tub of it, and it's liquid. I'd read that it's supposed to be a solid down to 76 degrees, but mine is pure clear liquid. I'm wondering if it has gone bad? (My kitchen is 74 degrees.)

And if you're going to use it as an alternative to butter, how much do you use?

I'd be grateful for any and all advice from experienced cooks.

Rose

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luckygardnr

Rosemary, I use it often, just as I would if using canola oil for sauteing and frying. I've never seen it clear, but if it doesn't smell rancid, I would assume it's okay.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 7:32AM
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marygailv

My friend who has a blog called "My Grandma Knows" uses coconut oil, so if no one here can answer you, you can ask her through her blog. You can find it by searching Google.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 7:34AM
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lazypup

I would not worry about it..I have helped my friend operate his booth at the county fair and he uses coconut oil in the Popcorn Machine. The coconut oil is stored in a metal 5gal. container sitting on the ground beside the machine where the temps will often be 90-100 deg and the oil is totally liquid, but it cooks just as well.

Now this begs the question, how did you measure the room temp & product temp? The reason I ask is because in HVAC school we learned that the human body is only capable of sensing temperature changes down to 3degF so most room air thermometers are accurate to within +/- 3deg and even then, they are manufactured on an assembly line to a theoretical set point and require field calibration. (Even the digital thermometers on HVAC controls are made to +/- 2deg.)

Now you could get a laboratory grade thermometer that is accurate to +/-1 deg for about $60+

The small dial type probe thermometers are accurate to +/- 1deg but you have to field calibrate them often for accuracy.

Field calibration is very easy. Look on the underside of the dial where the probe enters the back of the dial and you will see a Hex Nut.

Fill a glass with ice cubes and add water until the glass is nearly full and let it set about 10 minutes to stabilize the temperature. Now use a small wrench to hold the nut steady, immerse the probe in the water and wait until the needle stops moving. When it stops hold the shaft steady with the wrench and rotate the dial head until the needle indicates 32degF and it will now be calibrated.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 8:39AM
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patti43

I'm glad you asked because I wonder the same thing. My DSis told me what she saw in the store was liquid. I thought it only came in solid form. Seems to me that if it is in a tub it should be solid.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 9:31AM
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patti43

Rosemary, I googled it and from what I read on several sites is, no, it doesn't come in liquid form. But, it melts very quickly--even the temperature of your hands will melt it--so maybe it melted in the car on your way home from the store.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 9:40AM
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Sally Brownlee

here's a pretty good site...this is what they had to say about solid vs liquid:

"Coconut oil is liquid above 75 degrees F. (25 C.), and below that it will be a solid fat. It can be stored in either form, and it can be liquefied easily by applying low level heat."

"No, coconut oil does not need to be kept in the refrigerator. In the Philippines and other tropical climates, where the ambient air temperature is much higher than North America, people traditionally have not refrigerated coconut oil. Virgin Coconut oil is very stable since it is unrefined and mostly saturated. The expiration dates on our Virgin Coconut Oils are for two years, and on our Expeller-pressed coconut oils they are 18 months, but they will usually be fine much longer than the expiration dates. We do recommend you store the oil out of direct sunlight. In the tropics coconut oil is almost always a liquid, since it�s melting point is about 76 degrees F. In North America it will usually be a solid, butter-like consistency. It can be stored in either form."

Here is a link that might be useful: tropical traditions

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 9:55AM
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shea

Rosemary, I'm guessing that since it is liquid now and your room temperature is so close to the temp it needs to turn solid, that it would take quite awhile for it to become solid again. If your room was, say 60 degrees, it would become solid much faster. You could refrigerate it, but my experience is that makes it very hard.

I've been using coconut oil for about 6 years. I use the best quality I can find, organic extra virgin. When substituting it for butter, use the same amount of coconut oil as you would butter. We love it for popcorn. The junk in microwave popcorn is very unhealthy. We use a stove-top popper and it is delicious.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 12:48PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

I use it all the time, I buy the lou ann brand at walmart for it comes as a solid like crisco but it melts very very easily so when I leave it on my counter it is usually part liquid and part solid. That does not mean it is bad. I use this to cook pretty much anything I would fry or use olive oil for.
I would use the better quality brands that are extra virgin for other purposes.
It is wonderful for the skin and also to use on the hair.
I would not put it in the fridge it gets very very hard.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 1:29PM
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rosemaryt

Wow, thank you all so very much!

This coconut oil wasn't cheap, so I'm glad to know that it has not gone bad.

I'm striving to help hubby (and me too) eat healthier.

Thanks for the many replies. I can't tell you how helpful this has all been!!

Rose

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 4:19PM
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cherryfizz

I love cooking with coconut oil. I was keeping mine in the cupboard until the warm weather melted it clear and then I put it in the fridge until it solidifies. I use it when making banana bread and other baked goods that call for canola oil, I use it when making pancakes from scratch and I use it when I make stir fries or need a little fat for something I am going to saute.

I am moving away from canola oil. I have been hearing negative things about how toxic it can become in the body. Not sure if I totally believe that until I do more research.

Anne

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 5:05PM
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shea

Here's one resource for purchasing it online. This is probably a better price than you can get at stores. And if you use Amazon's subscribe and save, you'll get 5% off plus free shipping.

Here is a link that might be useful: coconut oil at amazon

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 9:07PM
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rosemaryt

Shea, that's the very stuff I bought! :)

And it did freak me out a little bit that when it arrived, the jar felt a little warm - and when I opened it, it was just pure, clear (almost watery) liquid.

I think I might stick it in the fridge, just to make sure it solidifies.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 4:15AM
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teresava

I've heard good things about it, but I've never used it. I tried coconut water and had to choke it down (and I love coconut) Is it a more "healthy" fat? Does your food have a mild coconut taste to it?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 9:02AM
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jennava19

Rosemary... take a look at the Nutiva website, nutiva.com there is a lot of good info on coconut oil and its many uses. we have just recently started using it too, and love it!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 9:45AM
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cookie8

I have both flavoured and unflavoured and use both of them a lot. I will put it on air popped popcorn instead of butter, add a good tablespoon to my green tea, I use it in baking, I brush my teeth with it (with a little baking soda added), use it as a moisturizer, as a deep condition for my hair (massage in scalp) and let sit for 1/2 hour before washing out, oil pulling for whitening teeth, I will mix it (1 tbsp) with a tbsp on chia seeds and have that for a "snack", use it on toast. Basically, I can't have dairy and replace all my butter needs with it.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 8:45PM
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eccentric

Cherryfizz - I have heard the same things about canola oil BUT that organic canola is healthier - who the heck knows. Anyway, I bought President's Choice organic canola the other day just in case. I use it lightly in frying pans etc. - and keep my extra virgin olive oil for use with bread etc. (besides the smoke point is too much). Re the coconut oil, yesterday while at Loblaws, I saw refrigerated coconut oil in a tub - I believe made by Smart Balance (organic) - noticed it because it was right next to the margarine I buy my husband - but since our 1.5 year old fridge is acting very iffy and being subject to many service calls - not buying it for him at this time. Remarkable the number of things that read "refrigerate after opening". I have seen jars of coconut oil that are filled with a white, solid "substance" - but have not read the after opening instructions. Personally, when in doubt, I don't do it. My husband might give something off to the dog - it is all about the dog!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 11:14AM
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kayjones

I buy my coconut oil (the same as pictured above) at a health food store for $15 + tax.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 2:40PM
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