So, what is coconut oil? Coconut oil is the liquid that is squeezed out of virgin coconut pulp. In the U.S. at room temperature it is actually a solid (a white creamy color the consistency of butter). In warmer climates where the coconuts actually grow, the room temperatures is warm enough to maintain the oil in a liquid state. I thought I was purchasing the wrong thing since it was a solid, but don't worry when you are purchasing an oil that is a solid....you can't buy it as a liquid unless it is very hot in the store!
Not all coconut oil is made equally either-there are three main types: RDB (refinded, bleached and deodorized),partially hydrogenated and fully hydrogenated, and fractionated. There are benefits and reasons for each type.
RDB oil is used when no flavor or smell of coconut is desired. The greatest use for this is pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. It can also be used in commercial cooking.
Partially hydrogenated coconut oil has a very low melt temperature of 76 degrees. When using coconut oil for foods or products that need to be left as a solid, this type of oil is not desirable. The fully hydrogenated oil has a higher melt temp of 97-104 degrees.
Fractionated coconut oil is taking only a particular portion of the whole coconut oil.One place to purchase this type of oil is through a seller of doTerra oils (which I happen to use and love).
One fact that surprised me about coconut oil was the low smoke point temperature of 350 degrees. This is one of the lowest compared to other vegetable oils available. Coconut oil is known to be a very stable oil though.
Tomorrow I am going to share some cooking and baking uses of coconut oil.