People in Asian countries have been using coconut oil forever, and now America is catching up. Coconut oil is connected to beauty and hair products, but did you know you can use it for cooking?
Get ready to not only learn how to use coconut oil in cooking but also about the health benefits and different types of coconut oils out there.
What is Coconut Oil?
What is coconut oil exactly? Despite coconut’s sweet taste, it’s one of the healthiest oils you can use in cooking. Its pure fat is taken from the meat of coconut fruit.
It can be solid at room temperature but melts quickly at around 76 degrees. It takes a long time to go bad— coconut oil can last up to two years.
Due to its saturated fat, the smoke point is higher, making it more stable than other cooking oils. It’s one of the many reasons why so many people want to learn how to use coconut oil in cooking. You can use it in baking, sautéing, and roasting. Some people even like to use it in place of butter or other oils.
Types of Coconut Oil
There are two main types of oil, refined and unrefined. Depending on your taste, one will work better than the other. While learning how to use coconut oil in cooking, it’s important to know the difference between refined and unrefined.
The refined version comes from copra, dried coconut kernels. The people who make this style of oil have to use high heat or solvents to get the oil from the fruit.
If you aren’t a fan of coconut’s flavor or smell, the refining process takes out a lot of the taste. It also has a higher smoke point out of the two.
As you learn how to use coconut oil in cooking, it’s useful for you to know that there are other processes other than the ones listed above that use chemicals. However, most of the time, the oils are chemical-free.
Unrefined coconut oil can also be marketed as virgin or extra virgin coconut oil. There’s not really a consistent difference between what makes coconut oil virgin or extra virgin. All that they have in common is that they are unprocessed by chemicals for the most part.
What makes this unrefined is that no heat is used in the oil getting process. Instead, people use either the quick-drying or wet-milling method.
It’s important to know the difference between these two methods as you learn how to use coconut oil in cooking. Quick-drying is when fresh coconut meat is dried out, and the oil is pressed out from it. The other method involves pressing out the coconut’s milk from the meat and then separating the oil from the water.
Unrefined oil keeps coconut’s flavor and aroma.
Benefits of Coconut Oil
You can also learn about the benefits of coconut oil as you learn how to use coconut oil in cooking.
- If you or anyone you know is allergic to dairy or is vegan, coconut oil makes for a great dairy alternative
- It allows the body to take in more essential vitamins and minerals
- Goes from the digestive system to the liver for a quicker energy source
- Coconut oil has over forty percent of lauric acid, which helps the immune system fight off viruses
- It’s good for digestion and cardiovascular health
- High in minerals, protein, and fiber
- Not technically a nut, so it’s nut allergen safe
- Can help with weight loss
- Improves calcium and magnesium absorption
- Good for memory
3 Tips on How to Use Coconut Oil in Cooking
Using these tips will make your life easier while learning how to use coconut oil in cooking for the first time.
1. Use Less Oil When Replacing Butter
When you’re using coconut oil instead of butter, make sure to use twenty-five percent less than the amount of butter that the recipe lists. Coconut oil is almost pure fat, and butter is not.
While butter gives a little more moisture to food than coconut oil, you can add a tiny bit of additional liquid to make it all even out. It may require some experimenting.
2. How to Handle Solid Coconut Oil
As you learn how to use coconut oil in cooking, you would probably imagine coconut oil to be liquid, but it’s not. For the most part, it will be solid. The only time it will be liquid is if you are in an environment that’s over seventy-five degrees. Some people struggle with getting the amount they need from the solid form.
There is another option if you would rather not go through that struggle as you learn how to use coconut oil in cooking for the first time. You can melt it and put it into ice cube trays. Put the tray in the fridge until the oil is firm again. If you put them in an airtight container, they shouldn’t melt.
By doing this, you can get small bits of oil when you need it for cooking.
3. How to Clean Cooking Oil Off
Sometimes oil can be stubborn and refuse to come off fry pans or saucepans. As you learn how to use coconut oil in cooking, you can also learn a few ways you can get that grease off without losing your mind. The first is getting into the habit of soaking your restaurant smallwares in hot water after use. It will help get rid of grease, and any food stuck to the surface.
Another option is using baking soda and vinegar. The baking soda will soak up the oil and vinegar can help cut through grease.
Time to Get Cooking
Now you know how to use coconut oil in cooking. While some people are still debating the health benefits of coconut oil, all the other benefits like high smoke level make it an excellent choice for chefs. Depending on the type of oil you use, you can even add a hint of sweetness to whatever you make.