Coconut oil is one of the best oils to use for cooking, as a base for soaps, a sunburn remedy, and even as a moisturizer. The stuff was abundant in Bali. During our cooking class, the chef opened a large jar and ladled out tons of it into the wok! However, not all coconut oil is made equal. Tropical Traditions, a coconut product company, goes into detail about the different ways to extract the oil, as well as which oils to use in certain recipes.
Refined Oil: Most commercial coconut oils are made from the dried meat of the coconut. However, because the drying process is often unsanitary, the oil extracted has to be purified by means of refining, bleaching, and deodorizing through high heat. Then sodium hydroxide is then added to remove fatty acids and to act as a preservative. Some even use chemical solvents to extract the oil as a more economical method.
Virgin Oil: In most virgin oils, they use fresh coconut meat which they quick dry and press to extract the oil. Another method is wet-milling, a process that begins with pressing fresh coconut meat and extracting “coconut milk.” Then the oil is separated from the water by either boiling, fermenting, refridgerating, enzymes, or mechanical centrifuge.
Tropical Traditions uses the fermentation method:
…a natural separation of the coconut oil from water using gravity. First, coconut milk is expressed from the freshly harvested coconuts by using the pure water inside the coconuts, which is then allowed to sit for approximately half a day. During this time the heavier water sinks to the bottom and the lighter coconut solids float to the top. In between the coconut solids and the water is a crystal clear coconut oil that is completely unrefined. The oil is then slightly heated for a short time to remove any remaining moisture, and then filtered. The result is a clear coconut oil that retains the distinct scent and taste of coconuts. This is a traditional method of coconut oil extraction that has been used in the Philippines for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
What does all this information mean? It’s all just information for you to use as the responsible consumer you are when you are at the market. There are many brands of coconut oils out there. If it seems like I’m advertising for Tropical Traditions, it’s probably because their website is painstakingly comprehensive, especially their FAQ. It’s hard to find other brands that go into that detail about their product. But, I did order some virgin coconut oil and shredded coconut to guinea pig, and there will be follow up posts soon!
Also, their website offers a great recipe for coconut milk, a product they do not sell for the reason that true coconut milk will spoil very quickly and separate easily. The stuff we buy in cans at the market have added stabilizing agents such as soy lecithin or guar gum (which has been known to cause problems for people with gluten intolerance, incidentally). However, if the amounts are ‘small enough,’ the FDA doesn’t require them to list it on the label.
Not to mention the aluminum cans most coconut milks are packaged in and the potential BPA leaching into the milk. Last, but not least, Tropical Traditions warns that “since canned coconut milks are over 90% water, you have to be concerned about the source of water that was used in packaging as well.”
The conclusion? Make your own. The video below shows how to do just that. It takes less than 10 minutes and the your fresh coconut milk will last in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
A big happy birthday to Amanda today! In her short time here, Amanda has made many strides and her past experience as a power lifter shows! During grueling met-cons, Amanda thrives by pushing herself harder to finish the workout. It’s been a joy to see her improvements thus far and I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring! Enjoy your big day Amanda!
Deadlift 1×5 or Wendler
Buy-in w/ 12 Deadlifts then…
20 Kettlebell Snatches
10 Toes to Bar