Choosing Good Coconut Oil

Choosing a Good Coconut Oil - Understanding the Labels :: Five Little Homesteaders

If you’re a reader of this blog, chances are you’ve already jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon.  I know I have.  I use it in place of all other oils in my recipes (save a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil here and there) and have started using it in place of butter sometimes, as well.  (Though don’t worry too much…. there are still healthy doses of butter being handed out around these parts.)

You’re probably aware of coconut oil’s many health benefits –  and you may know how to use it in cooking – , baking – and as a supplement.

But are you confused when it comes to choosing good coconut oil?  Do you understand everything that is written on the labels?

When it comes to choosing good coconut oil, you need to understand refined vs unrefined, cold-pressed vs expeller pressed, virgin vs. extra-virgin.

Choosing Good Coconut Oil

For a lot of people who shop in conventional grocery stores, there may not be a lot of choices when it comes to coconut oil.  I know at mine, there is only one choice.  In this case it’s important to know what you’re getting and whether what is available is worth the money.  Conversely, at the health food store there is going to be zillions of choices and you’ll want to know that you’re choosing good coconut oil from all the various options.

Refined vs. Unrefined

Refined coconut oil is often the kind that you will find easily at conventional grocery stores.  This has been the case for me.  It is mostly tasteless and odorless.  It can also withstand slightly higher temperatures than unrefined oil.  My husband hates the smell and taste of coconut oil, so for some applications, this is the best option in my family.

While not exactly the same as unrefined oil, all the information I’ve read leads me to believe that it has most of the same nutritional benefits.  If possible, you want to ensure that you are buying a refined oil that is refined in a natural way, without chemicals, and that it is most certainly NOT hydrogenated.

Unrefined coconut oil – , which may also be called virgin or extra-virgin, will be readily available at health food stores and online. You’ll be surprised to learn that there really isn’t a difference between “virgin” and “extra-virgin” when it comes to coconut oil.  Both come from the first mechanical pressing of raw coconut.  Unrefined coconut oil is considered superior to refined oil but does have a mild (to strong, depending on brand) coconut flavor and scent.

Cold-Pressed vs. Expeller Pressed

When choosing good coconut oil, you’ll want to know how the oil was extracted from the coconut.

Cold-Pressed is the most common type of extraction for coconut oil.  If you want to be sure you are getting the most benefits when choosing good coconut oil, make sure you buy one that uses a cold-press method that never heats the coconut.  Though it is called “cold-pressed” some methods still use heat to extract the most meat from the coconut.

Expeller-pressed oil is definitely heated and most people wanting to get the most benefit from their coconut oil will want to stay away from it.  Again, heating the oil isn’t a horrible thing, in and of itself, since coconut oil has very stable fatty acids, but if you are looking for the most bang for your buck, you may want to stay away from expeller-pressed varieties.

Does this help?  Are you feeling more confidant when headed to the store?  I guess I’d sum it up by saying, it’s hard to go terribly wrong with coconut oil, unless of course you stumble upon a hydrogenated variety.

What kind do you buy?  Where do you get it?


Shared on Frugal Days –

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  • 7 thoughts on “Choosing Good Coconut Oil

    1. Jay@ Best Juicer for Leafy Greens

      Great breakdown. I get extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil. I found it at costco. They sell it in a plastic tub. It’s much cheaper than getting it at a health food store. I actually like the smell. I have used LouAnn’s and didn’t like that it didn’t have a really strong smell of coconut.

    2. janetpesaturo

      Thanks for sharing on Homestead Barn Hop. You are right that food labeling can be very confusing, so it’s always helpful to clarify. I’ve got a few food labeling posts in the making in my mind now, too.

    3. Jodeanne

      Just thought I would tell you, incase you haven’t done this, about using coconut oil to pop popcorn. It tastes so much better than regular oil. You can also use it to make kettle corn.

    4. Angela Kells

      A friend brought me some coconut oil ( thank you ) as I said I would like to change, having read so many good things about it. On the label it does not say much at all except that it is 100% natural, made in Samoa by Punjas , who it is distributed by …and in very small print, for external use only !!! so I guess I wont be cooking with it. Smooth skin for years, as its 750ml bottle hahah

    5. Lauren

      Coconut oil is becoming so popular now and there are so many choices out there! Thanks for sharing this information.

    6. Jean

      My favorite is Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil. It is the least processed method I know of. It smells and tastes the best.


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