It seems like coconut oil gets more and more popular in the US and Europe lately. Of course, this oil is regularly used in tropical countries for cooking as well as in beauty routines since it is excellent for nourishing dried skin and hair. In fact, it is known worldwide that coconut oil has a significant effect on your overall health.
Since it is so popular in tropical countries, we are all wondering, does coconut oil go bad? That also means many of us do not know how to store it properly; let’s discuss this thoroughly in the next few rows.
Types Of Coconut Oil
There are two types of coconut oil – refined and unrefined.
- Pure coconut oil or also called virgin coconut oil, is an unrefined type of oil. It is made from fresh coconut meat in a process called wet-milled fermentation. Unrefined organic coconut oil is considered the premium standard since it provides the most health benefits and has the highest antioxidants.
- On the other hand, refined coconut oil is made from dried coconut meat called copra, so it does not have the benefits of an unrefined version. Copra needs to go through the purification process (bleaching) that leaves it without coconut taste and smell. Refined oil is made from dried coconut meat called copra. After this process, the oil is deodorized to remove its distinct aroma and flavor; also, sodium hydroxide is added to extend the shelf life.
How And Where To Store Coconut Oil
It is a common mistake that people think oils can’t turn rancid, but the fact is that they go funky pretty quickly if you do not take care of them as you should.
The rule is that almost all vegetable oils should be stored in the pantry or the fridge. If you keep coconut oil in the refrigerator, it will be hard as a rock, while it will have the consistency of jelly when stored in the pantry.
You can also store it at room temperature, but you must know that its melting point is around 75 °F, so if the temperature in the room is higher, the oil will liquefy. In this condition, coconut oil is perfect for beauty applications such as hair masks or moisturizers, but its quality will deteriorate.
Coconut oil suffers from light, oxygen, and heat exposure, so make sure you keep the container tightly sealed and away from direct light. While we are talking about the container, it is best to store it in a dark glass container to keep it fresh for an extended time.
In case you use coconut oil as a beauty product, never store it in the bathroom since the constant change of the temperature and moisture from the air will affect the quality of the oil.
If you buy coconut oil in bulk, you need to know that you can store it in the freezer, but make sure you transfer it in the freezer-safe containers. Here I would like to offer you some extra tips. Do not freeze it in big chunks. If you only use it in small portions, freeze it in the ice cube trays, and you will always be able to thaw the amount you need without wasting the rest.
How Long Can Coconut Oil Last
Coconut oil cannot go bad quickly, thanks to the high content of fatty acids. The average shelf life is somewhere between two and four years if the oil is stored correctly. However, if you use organic coconut oil and prefer to store it at room temperature, make sure to use it within 60 days, or if that is not possible, it must be refrigerated.
Usually, every jar of coconut oil should have a date on it or at least a best by date. The best by date is just a rough estimate informing you until your oil is at peak quality. As long as any contaminants didn’t get to the oil, it will be fine for years to come. Of course, like with any other oil with time, its quality will slowly deteriorate. This does not mean it will not be safe to use.
Also, no matter if you choose the refined or unrefined type, you can safely use the oil 3 to 6 months after the best by date. Of course, it is always recommended to check if the coconut oil is fit for consumption before you use it.
Read More: How Long Does Coconut Milk Last?
Extending The Shelf Life Of The Coconut Oil
Extending the shelf life of coconut oil is not a very difficult task. The only thing you have to do is to make sure you store it properly. That means always keeping it in dry places without a constant change in temperature, moisture, or light.
Also, if your coconut oil originally comes in a plastic jar or any other type of container, make sure you transfer it in the dark glass jar that can be tightly sealed to prevent oxygen from spoiling it. In case you use coconut oil for multiple purposes, never use the same container for all of them.
There is one more important thing to mention, and that is scooping oil out of the jar. Never use your fingers for scooping out the oil from the jar. When you need to scoop out the oil using the clean utensil to avoid leaving any contaminants, and the possibility of your oil becoming moldy.
How To Tell If The Coconut Oil Turned Bad
Coconut oil is a very stable oil since it has a lot of saturated fats. But just like I said, it can go bad if you do not store it properly or use your fingers and dirty spoon to scoop it out of the jar. Before every use, always check out if the coconut oil is good to use.
The first thing you have to do is analyze its looks. In case there are any signs of mold on the surface, discard it. Never try to scratch up the mold from the surface of the oil and use the rest of it since you can never be sure how deep the mold went. Take a look at the bottom of the jar, too, and if you notice anything strange, discard the oil.
If the smell is off and funky, that is a good sign of the spoiled oil. Coconut oil has a subtle sweet scent, so if it becomes strong and sour, it turns rancid, so get rid of it. It smells sweet, tastes sweet too, so tries it a bit before using it in your food if you notice a change in aroma discard it.
The discoloration is a clear sign of bad coconut oil. Solid coconut oil must have a milky white color. On the other hand, liquefied coconut oil must be crystal clear. If the oil has a yellowish tint, it is time to say goodbye.
See Also: Does Coconut Water Go Bad?
What Are The Side Effects Of Using The Spoiled Coconut Oil
So I am sure many of you have asked yourself the side effects of consuming rancid coconut oil. First, I must say this is not advisable at all. Yes, there aren’t enough studies about the side effects of spoiled oil, but we all know that ingesting any type of spoiled food comes with certain health risks.
Rancid oil will not make you sick immediately, but if you consume it in the long run, it can damage your body since the antioxidants that have the primary role in protecting our body from toxins tend to become toxic when the oil gets spoiled. Also, oxidized products of the polyunsaturated fatty acids from oils can be toxic to cells and cause cancer.
It is not smart to use spoiled oil on your skin or hair, too, since it might cause some reactions like itchiness or redness. With all this in mind, it is easy to conclude that it is not wise to take the risk when you are unsure whether the oil is good or bad.
But there is one good thing. If your oil turns bad, do not toss it; you can use it to oil the cutting boards, polish furniture, or oil up the squeaky door hinges.
So the question is which one is better – a refined or unrefined coconut oil?
The answer depends on what you’re going to use it for. Naturally, for health benefits, organic and unrefined oil is the better choice since it is not processed as much as refined oil, so it has more beneficial properties.
On the other hand, refined coconut oil is far less expensive than unrefined oil, and it can’t spoil as quickly as unrefined oil can. Also, it is a great choice for people who do not love coconut’s smell and taste.