Coconut oil is packed full of healthy saturated fats and it’s a great addition to your diet. It’s loaded with the best kinds of saturated fat, tastes delicious on its own or added to other foods, and stable on higher temperatures in cooking. But choosing the right coconut oil is not as easy as you might think. Here are a few guidelines that may be helpful.
Refined Coconut Oil vs. Virgin Coconut Oil
The refined coconut oils are usually referred to as “RBD coconut oils.” RBD stands for: refined, bleached, deodorized. A refined coconut oil is usually tasteless and odorless. There are a misconceptions that refined coconut oils are not healthy, and that they actually might be harmful. The RBD process does nothing to the fatty acid content of coconut oil, so all the medium chain fatty acids are kept intact. Refined coconut oils are excellent for cooking foods because of it is tasteless and without a dominating coconut flavour. However, there are many coconut oils that are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated in the market these days. Avoid these types of coconut oils.
An unrefined coconut oil is typically labeled “virgin” or “extra-virgin”. In general, this type of coconut oil is made from the first pressing of fresh, raw coconut without the addition of any chemicals. There is no industry standard that regulates the use of these terms like there is for the olive oil industry, the content is actually the same thing. Depending on how the oil is extracted, the flavor can be very intense or very mild.
Color and Taste
High quality coconut oil should be white when it’s solid and colorless when liquid. At 24 degrees C (76 degrees F) and lower, it become thick and creamy; at higher temperatures it turns into a liquid. If you see any shade of yellow or gray it might mean low quality or even contaminated. Pure coconut oil is colorless.
Virgin coconut oils should always have a coconut smell and taste. If not, they are RBD oil. Poor quality coconut oil sometimes has a strong flavor or smell. Smoke from the heating process may contaminate the oil and give smoky smell and taste.
Expensive price tag doesn’t always mean the best, but sometimes it indicates the quality and the purity. Some brands in the market did not sell 100% virgin coconut oil. They added RBD coconut oil and add in some coconut artificial flavors.
There are many brands and types of coconut oil and they vary in price depending on the source, production method, packaging, and etc. Take the time to understand how the oil you purchase was treated. Try out a few brands to find out which brand that suits you the most.