Cooking with Coconout Oil

The dangers of cooking with vegetable oil are slowly finding their way into the mainstream. We use olive oil for dressings and marinades, but coconut oil is the staple cooking oil in our kitchen (when we’re not using butter).

Contrary to what most believe, the flavor is extremely mild and will complement any recipe. It does, however, have a very pleasant, tropical aroma and provides the added benefit of transporting your culinary adventure to a warm, sandy island paradise… in your mind.

With a melting point of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s solid in cooler climates (such as the majority of days here in the Pacific Northwest). It’s a highly stable oil so we leave a jar on the counter at all times and just scoop it out with a spoon.

Coconut oil is extracted from the copra, or the meat of the coconut (for more on the various processes see here). It is a primarily made up of medium-chained fatty acids. Some of the key medicinal properties include:

  1. Lauric acid. Prized antiviral and antimicrobial properties, the only other natural source with such a high concentration is breast milk, “Which could explain the drastic decrease of infections of all types in breast-fed babies.” (Source: Natural News)
  2. Myristic acid. The body uses to “stabilize many different proteins, including proteins used in the immune system and to fight tumors.” (Source: Weston Price Foundation)
  3. Biological-supporting saturated fat. Good quality saturated fats are essential for health. They make up half of every one of the 100 plus trillion cells in your body, are necessary for incorporating calcium into your bones, needed for energy, hormone production, organ padding (this one makes me smile)… the list goes on. (See the Weston Price article above, and this one from Mercola)

Its popularity is surging, so it isn’t too hard to find. The best value we’ve found is Trader Joe’s (a pint jar is about $6). If you’ve got the storage space, a great option is a 5 gallon tub from Western Family Naturals (this is probably the best quality around and the bulk price is even cheaper than Trader Joe’s per pint even after shipping… last time I ran the numbers).

What is your favorite oil for cooking?