Storing Coconut Oil In Summer
Knowing how to correctly store and look after food products can give you a lot of confidence to buy it and use it!
Coconut oil will change its state from solid to liquid in different temperatures and how to correctly store it is something I commonly get asked about. My home country New Zealand is typically quite cool, temperature wise, for most of the year with the exception of a couple of months in summer...though this summer is shaping up to be one of the hottest in many years.
As a result I am so used to working with coconut oil in solid form, however in it’s natural state in the islands it is always liquid. You may sometimes find it in an almost jelly-like state, somewhere between a liquid and a solid
If you check out some of the internet forums on coconut oil and you will see quite a divide on this = some have never seen it solid and some have never seen it liquid.
Below are some good guidelines on the storage of coconut oil especially in the warmer months.
The great news about coconut oil is that is lasts longer than many other cooking oils. Coconut oil is perfectly suitable and stable for shelf or pantry storage for up to two years. The best before date will typically reflect this.
It is important to keep the coconut oil in a cool dark place. If you are unable to do this for some reason, do ensure it is out of direct sunlight. For example place it in the the bottom of a draw or the lowest shelf in the pantry rather than sitting on the bench top. As this oil is more sensitive to temperature than other oils as a habit I do not not keep it next to the stove.
Keeping coconut oil in an air-tight container is crucial. It is often thought it is just temperature that can increase the time at which food goes rancid but it is actually exposure to oxygen.
When cooking do not leave the oil sitting on the bench with the lid off for a long time, cover quickly and place back in it’s cool place - this is more crucial in summer.
In the Fridge?
You can put coconut oil in the fridge to solidify a bit if required - I know that for some recipes the coconut oil is a bit easier to work with in a solid form. I personally would not keep it in the fridge unless necessary as this makes it very difficult to use.
One tip here is to put the coconut oil in a container (I actually use our baby food trays for this!). This means you can just use a bit of coconut oil at a time and protect the rest from getting contaminated. If you do this in a jar you will have to scoop out of the jar everything you want to use it and this will increase the risk of contamination.
How to Know if your Coconut Oil is Rancid?
It sounds logical but to know if the coconut oil is edible and not rancid just use your senses - if it looks pale in color (it should be slightly transparent) or any mold formation, do not use it. Secondly it will actually smell off. Some recommend to taste is but I think that will depend greatly on your perfection of what tastes good!
I hope the above guidelines help, especially to give you a bit more confidence that coconut oil is perfectly fine to use regardless of its state and also some tips on working with it in different ways.
Be sure to check out some of my recipe ideas using coconut oil like my new Healthy Christmas Fudge below and to keep an eye out for my favourite coconut oil Blue Coconut in your local supermarket.
xxx Dr Julie Bhosale