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Coconut Oil - A Great Alternative to Butter and Shortening for Pie Crusts

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Contrary to what we've been led to believe for years, coconut oil is extremely heart-healthy. Because it looks like semi-solid vegetable shortening, it's been lumped together with unhealthy hydrogenated fats.

Coconut oil IS high in saturated fats, but these fats do not have the same effect on our bodies as saturated fats derived from animals. Coconut oil is now looked upon as a "functional food," meaning that it is a food product that provides health benefits. Please see www.coconut-info.com/ for more info.

Just be sure to buy coconut oil in its virgin state, not hydrogenated coconut oil. In its virgin state it is semi-solid, smelling faintly of coconut (and can be used as a moisturizer). It's usually sold in screw-top shallow jars and requires no refrigeration. It doesn't get rancid and has an extended shelf life.

I've used coconut oil very successfully in pie crusts instead of butter of shortening. The crust does have a slight coconut-y flavour, but I, for one, find this appealing.

I buy mine at natural foods stores.

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  1. What do you do when it gets a little warm in your house and melts? I use it for popcorn, but have never thought it would substitute for butter as it can be solid or liquid.
    -Becca

    3 Replies
    1. re: Becca Porter

      Good question, Becca. It's never melted on me, and I didn't think it would. It's got a very high smoking point, which makes it suitable for high temperature cooking.

      One word of advice to those thinking of refrigerating coconut oil prior to using for pie crust (the colder the better, right?): DON'T!

      I made this mistake the first time. When I took the coconut oil out of the fridge, it was rock hard. Even a sharp knife could not penetrate it.

      1. re: Becca Porter

        I've made pie crust with coconut oil, and use it in solid form. If it is warm, I weigh it, then refrigerate it and cut it into little cubes, and maybe chill it a little more. I use the food processor method and usually have to add a little more liquid than usual. I use the same method for scones. It works.

        1. re: Becca Porter

          When it goes to liquid you can use the same method as making ice cream. Simply get a clay or metal bowl and place it in the freezer for about an hour, take out the bowl and put the oil into it and begin to stir with a spoon or whisk remember to get at the sides where it's going to be and just stir constantly, you'll see it turn white and milky and then thicken.. it won't turn into a rock and it really doesn't take that long at all.. I just did it myself and took maybe 5 mins for a cup of oil in a small clay bowl. If it doesn't gel up enough, you can simply place a bowl under it with some icewater and continue to stir..

        2. High melting point? I have coconut oil from Whole Foods and it turns liquid whenever my apartment got over 80 in the summer. It might have a high smoking temp but i don't think it has a high melting temp.

          11 Replies
          1. re: JaneRI

            I have had the same experience. When it's liquid, I use it for baking and sauteeing, like you would any other liquid oil. I don't know how I'd get it solid for pie crust. Maybe a carefully monitored period in the frig just long enough to cool it to a solid again?

            1. re: amyzan

              Sorry about that. I did mean "high smoking point." I've since edited my post.

              1. re: FlavoursGal

                And yours doesn't melt in warm weather?

                1. re: JaneRI

                  Our house is centrally air-conditioned, and I've had no problems.

              2. re: amyzan

                If your house gets warm enough to melt coconut oil, you should keep it in the fridge.

                Not a bad idea anyway, as the cold deters rancidity.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  If I kept it in the fridge, it would never get used. It becomes hard as rock when refrigerated, and impossible to even chip out of the container. No thanks.

                  I keep olive oil in the fridge, but coconut oil doesn't turn rancid very easily in my experience. BTW, my house has central AC as well, but summers can be extreme here. I don't chose to open my kitchen cabinets to air condition the contents, at least not intentionally. I just store certain things in the fridge or freezer that time of year. Thanks for your input anyway.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Really not necessary to keep coconut oil in the fridge.

                    I've lived in Sri Lanka for nine years and I'm now in Singapore. Coconut oil is my main cooking/deep frying oil. It's also *always* in a liquid state since our room temperature is high enough. I've *never* kept it in the fridge.

                    It only goes rancid if some liquid gets into it. Otherwise, it's shelf stable - as a liquid - for years.

                    1. re: LMAshton

                      I know I don't have to refrigerate coconut oil & I don't. The question was "I wonder if I could chill the coconut oil & then grate it like I do w/butter when I'm making pie dough?"

                      1. re: chefirish

                        you could.

                        1. re: magiesmom

                          I've frozen it a few mins and then grated it because only chilled in the frig the warmth of my hand was enough to melt it.

                  2. re: amyzan

                    Yes, put it in the fridge to firm up, my pie crust came out great using it liquid. It will definitely re-solidify if you cool it even after heating. It goes from a liquid to a solid very quickly. We keep our home in the 50's all winter, I know that's a bit on the cool side, but the coconut oil is solid all winter long, I have to heat it slightly to make it a liquid. I have a recipe for easy spelt pie crust using liquid oil, if you want the recipe I can give it to you.

                2. Coconut oil's the best substitute I know for Crisco. Indian groceries have an expensive kind that has a *lot* of coconut flavor, can be very tasty for stir-fries.

                  Coconut oil and palm oil are definitely healthier than partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil, but it's an open question whether their saturated fat is more or less healthy than saturated fat from animal products.

                  Most nutritionists still think it's unhealthy but that may be based on the assumption that all saturated fat is alike. Given that Thais eat lots of coconut oil and the country has low incidence of heart disease, that may be a false assumption.

                  Unfortunately coconut-info.com and all the studies I've found are funded by countries that export coconut oil and companies that produce it.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Just because the studies are funded by those with an economic interest in coconut oil doesn't automatically negate the results. By the way, every U.S. study is from a country that has an economic interest in the (very powerfully lobbied) soy and corn industries. Maybe we should ignore all the results from U.S. studies too? There are U.S. and British studies that show that polyunsaturated fats (the 'good' fats right?) suppress the immune system and promote the development and growth of cancer in the body. Who wants to use Canola now?

                    1. re: plumchili

                      Canola oil is primarily monounsaturated fats, like olive oil. Polyunsaturated fats were promoted widely in the 70's in America--safflower, sunflower and soy oil are good sources. We know now that using primarily polyunsaturated fats isn't healthy for humans.

                      Much matters in the processing of these fats, because methods will alter the fatty acid profiles. When coconuts are processed in traditional "cold" methods, they retain the medium chain fatty acids that are beneficial saturated fats. Much of our belief that saturated tropical oils aren't healthy for people was based on tropical oils that had the fatty acid profile altered in processing.

                      I'm of the basic belief that we're learning the closer a product is to its natural state, the more likely it is to retain beneficial components for humans. It's common sense that an oil can't be made shelf stable for months or years through processing, and retain healthful benefits. We're also learning that animal fats from animals that eat a diet natural to the digestive systems have fatty acid profiles of benefit to human beings, too. So, butter and other dairy products from dairy cattle as well as the fats in beef from grass fed animals has a healthier profile of CLAs than that of feedlot beef or grain fed dairy cattle. This all brings us back to traditional, less profitable ways of raising beef and keeping dairy cows.

                    2. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Robert, how does that Indian oil compare in flavor to Dr. Bronner's? I like to taste the coconut. :)

                    3. You don't think that's changing? (the view of nutritionists) As evidenced by the displays of coconut oil at places like Whole Foods, which I took to be in response to all the positive press it's gotten lately?

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: JaneRI

                        Positive press doesn't dictate science.

                        Biochemically, saturated fats from both animal and plant sources are by and large the same. That being said, animal fats carry cholesterol, which can have a detrimental effect in terms of heart disease.

                        Though, on a cholesterol tangent, dietary cholesterol only accounts for about 30% of the cholesterol in our bodies. The other 70%? We synthesize it ourselves.

                        In my opinion, if you want to be 'heart-healthy', don't eat pie crust.

                        1. re: xtal

                          Whole Foods has a lot of coconut oil products because they don't sell products that contain industrial trans fats. There's no question that you're better off eating natural coconut oil than partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil.

                          Coconut and palm oil are chemically distinguishable from animal fats. That might explain why Thais don't have much heart disease, or the explanation might be that they have a genetic advantage and could be just as healthy eating butter and lard.

                          If you cut cholesterol out of your diet, your body will synthesize 100%.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Synthesize it from what? How? I'd like to tell my dad. He eats no eggs, dairy, red meat, etc., and is terrified of cholesterol. He's in good health but super skinny and I wish he'd relax a little. It's no fun having dinner with him.

                            1. re: Glencora

                              Here's a useful overview based on the most recent research:

                              http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutrition...

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                I'm sorry, Robert, but the info at the Harvard link looks just like the same ol' old-fashioned mainstream anti-saturated fat, anti-cholesterol "orthodoxy".

                                The only thing new that wouldn't be on this same page ten years ago is the admonition against trans fats.

                          2. re: xtal

                            Saturated Fats are NOT all chemically the same. There are long, medium ,and short chain saturated fats. Our bodies utilize Medium chain fatty acids, like coconut oil, more quickly for energy. They are great for endurance athletes and those trying to "jump start" their metabolism.

                            I live in a hot climate, and my coconut oil melts at room temp in the summer. I would be broke if i tried to keep my central air set below 79 degrees! So I put it in the fridge over night once a week or so when it gets too liquid. i take it out first thing in the morning, and in a couple of hours the top is nice and soft.

                            1. re: xtal

                              This sounds like the typical nutritionist rant against coconut oil. More recent medical research dispels this as a wise-tale. What is interesting is that coconut oil is now discovered to reverse effects of Alzheimers.

                              1. re: Jimmy1

                                Welcome to CH! If you have a citation for the Alzheimer's claim, please link to it if you can. I'm sure I'm not the only Hound who'd be interested in reading about that. I mean that sincerely. Also, and not to be snarky but when you make eggcorn errors, some folks will assume you are not well-read: it's "old wives' tale", not "wise-tale".

                          3. I never said positive press dictated science.....the positive press I'm referring to is FROM nutritionists extolling the benefits coconut oil. I said that in response to the statement that nutritionists are still anti-coconut oil.

                            As for dietary cholesterol not being the greatest worry in terms of cholesterol, you're preaching to the choir - I'm always explaining it to people.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: JaneRI

                              I've been looking for reports by independent nutritionists supporting the claims of coconut-info.com and similar industry-sponsored sites, but haven't found any. Have you?

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Thanks - latest studies
                                http://www.westonaprice.org/knowyourf...

                            2. "Whole Foods has a lot of coconut oil products because they don't sell products that contain industrial trans fats."

                              I'm not talking about products WITH coconut oil, to replace trans-fats....I'm talking about large displays of jars of coconut oil.

                              I haven't looked for that specifically (ind nutr) but I was under the impression that's what I had seen....I'll take a look.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: JaneRI

                                Has anyone used this new trans-free Crisco product for baking doughs, crusts, biscuits etc? I was getting ready to get some for the first time.

                                I'm including it in this discussion because its saturated fat is palm oil, and since coconut is a palm... well...

                                http://www.crisco.com/about/prod_info...

                                The nice thing about the Old (Bad?) Crisco is that, like butter, its melting point makes it easily controllable with quick refrigeration to bring either of them to a hardness where they can be manipulated as "pea size chunks" etc.

                                Any thoughts here, with comparisons with coconut oil?

                                1. re: FoodFuser

                                  The new Crisco uses fully-hydrogenated vegetable oil.

                                  They're assuming that that stuff is healthier but so far as I can find it hasn't been studied the way partially-hydrogenated oil has.

                                  Personally I just avoid all ingredients that can't be made without special equipment by a home cook or skilled artisan.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    I haven't tried Spectrum Natural's organic shortening (to be honest, I've never used shortening in my life, because for so long there was only Crisco, which even before the sat fat/trans fat info came out - and considering I have a genetic predispospition for high choletostrol - I just found it scary). I remember reading posts indicating Spectrum was made with coconut oil and left pie crusts with a slight flavor that was an acquired taste, but Spectrum's web site indicates that it's now made with expeller-pressed palm oil. http://www.spectrumorganics.com/?id=87

                                    It's the only shortening I've considered, for recipes that insist it makes a better product (I prefer an all-butter pie crust), or perhaps for seasoning cast iron, since I don't use pork products, but I haven't tried it yet, and wouldn't do so banking on its superior health claims, beyond avoidance of trans fats.

                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                      I've tried that stuff. I happened to be in WF when I needed shortening. I don't use it in much but the things I've made with it tasted pretty good--empandadas and faux oreo filling. Don't really know much about the health benefits/detriments though. I'm more of an "everything in moderation" kind of gal.

                                  2. re: FoodFuser

                                    I tried the trans fat free Crisco when it first came out. (Actually, I didn't eat it myself, because of food allergies, but cooked with it for others.) My family disliked it and I threw it out. The texture was sticky and the flavor was described to me as "off." Sounds unappealing to me! I'm sorry to say I don't recall what I made with it, but it was likely fried chicken or pie crust.

                                  3. re: JaneRI

                                    One other possible problem with coconut oil (and most solid fats) is the lack of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. In other words, the ratio of Omega-6:Omega-3 is infinity to one. I really enjoyed "The Queen of Fats". Even if you don't buy into all of the author's conclusions, I think she makes some really good points, especially about the reductionist nutritional philosophy that's so common in our culture.

                                    1. re: will47

                                      You're aware that over-consumption of Omega-3's can cause hair loss...? I have a friend who jumps on every new food fad and figured "more is more" with regard to Omega-3's. She couldn't figure out why her hair began to fall out in clumps (fortunately, she had a lot to start) until she discovered that many people who consumed large amounts of Omega-3's were experiencing hair loss that stopped once the Omega-3's were eliminated. My point is that taking a break from Omega-3's by way of consuming a fat that lacks them is probably a healthful objective.

                                      I've been following health trends for many years, initially guided by a pro. He taught me how to be skeptical (e.g. studies funded by those with financial interest), to read between the lines (i.e. what's not written is often more significant than what is), and that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing (or at the very least, stupid) thing. I still find this sound advice.

                                      1. re: MacGuffin

                                        I encourage you to read "The Queen of Fats" if you get a chance, because if anything, it's an antidote to a lot of the faddy nutritional advice out there, and takes a surprisingly holistic view to things. I think the author makes some really sensible observations about our culture's desire to find the one simple problem for anything (first saturated fat was bad, then trans fats, etc.).

                                        The book doesn't really encourage taking supplements or consuming large amounts of Omega-3; (and it's very clear that we need many more Omega-6 EFAs than Omega-3s in our diet total). The vast majority of oils and foods have more 6 than 3, so if you're eating a normal diet without supplements, it's extremely unlikely that you'd end up with too much Omega-3. However, because processed foods use so many oils which have a ratio much more skewed towards Omega-6 (in many cases, with an infinity:1 ratio), the author claims that the over-consumption of Omega-6 prevents you from absorbing the benefits of Omega-3s, even if they *are* consumed in large amounts.

                                        So, a lot of the actual advice in the book is pretty common sense. It's somewhat dense and, for me, was not an easy read, but I think it makes some really good points. Whether or not you agree with the conclusions, I don't get the sense that the author has any sort of vested business interest or anything like that.

                                        Again, if you read above, I was not suggesting that anyone down buckets of fish oil, just that there are possible issues with consuming too many oils which have 100% Omega-6 and 0% Omega-3 EFAs.

                                        1. re: will47

                                          Point well taken and I'm always open to common sense. I try to find out everything I can about something that interests me and then rely on my own horse sense when finally making up my mind. Knock wood, this has served me well enough that it's unlikely I'll ever find myself in the same sorry situation as my friend. :(

                                  4. From about.com's thyroid section:

                                    http://thyroid.about.com/gi/dynamic/o...

                                    I'm hypothyroid and have spent quite a bit of time there....so my perceptions of "a lot" of press could be skewed.

                                    1. Funny thing, we used non-h coconut oil shortening last night at my cooking class--roti, and plenty of them, and were talking about whether it was suitable for piecrust. Would be curious to know. It was certainly suitable for roti, as our teacher said, you can't be afraid of grease when making them, have to slather it on the dough and then immerse them and the coconut stuff worked great although we used about two pounds, the roti were yum! and gone.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Louise

                                        Yes, Louise, as I mentioned in my initial discussion posting, I do make pie crusts using coconut oil, and they come out extremely well.

                                      2. You mean to tell me that they forced all of the movie theatres to stop using coconut oil ten years ago.....(because each tub of popcorn had 85 grams of saturated fat)....and NOW they're telling us that the stuff is HEALTHY???

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: jackattack

                                          There's a major difference between the hydrogenated coconut oil that is used by the food service industry and the non-hydrogenated coconut oil being discussed here, which is much lower in sat fats.

                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                            Natural and partially-hydrogenated coconut oil are both around 90% saturated fat.

                                            The major difference is that partially-hydrogenated coconut oil contains trans fats.

                                        2. Can anyone tell me if I use coconut oil instead of butter to make pie crust, what's the substitution ratio?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: cocoa

                                            If it's measured by volume, use the same amount.

                                            If it's measured by weight, use 20% less than the recipe calls for.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              I wasn't aware of this, Robert. Thanks from me, as well.

                                          2. Thank you so much. I'll try that.

                                            1. Could you use coconut oil in a carrot cake recipe in place of canola oil?

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: javaandjazz

                                                The problem with using coconut oil in cakes is that when coconut oil meets other liquids, it tends to go rancid fairly quickly.

                                                I've tried making cakes - like chocolate, for example - with coconut oil (virgin coconut oil, by the way) - and it's been rancid in about three days.

                                                Butter or olive oil is better, in my experience.

                                              2. Coconut oil is not a liquid oil but, rather, is in semi-solid form. It looks like Crisco. There would not be any health benefits to using coconut oil over canola oil. I'd stick with canola oil in a cake recipe that calls for liquid oil.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: FlavoursGal

                                                  I'm interested in making a coconut oil pie crust. I tried several years back, and like you said, if refrigerated, it becomes hard as rock. Could you please share your recipe for pie crust and instructions on how to get a flaky crust if you don't refrigerate the coconut oil?? I love coconut and would enjoy the flavor in a crust. Thanks very much!

                                                  1. re: FlavoursGal

                                                    The anti-viral properites of coconut oil make it a far better nutritional oil to use in place of canola..

                                                    Canola is a processed "after" oil.. I never use it. :) Grapeseed oil is another favorite of mine as well. :)

                                                    1. re: tolsonhouse4

                                                      I'd use rice bran, corn, or peanut oil in an oil cake.

                                                      I'm not sure there's anything unhealthy about canola (low eurcic acid rapeseed) oil, but what little flavor it has is nasty.

                                                  2. I just made the oatmeal scotchie cookies on the back of the Nestle butterscotch chips packages yesterday. I used all coconut oil in place of the butter and the cookies came out excellent. Also had a slight coconutty flavor. YUMMY!

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: javaandjazz

                                                      Chocolate Chip Cookies are good with the coconut oil, too. Famous Amos puts coconut in his famous recipe.

                                                      1. re: jackattack

                                                        ahh...famous amos! i used virgin coconut oil in a gluten free brownie mix and had a faint coconut taste which was delicious. i think the consistency was a bit more gooey than if i used regular oil...i have no idea why...

                                                    2. My MIL uses coconut oil in everything she bakes. Her food used to taste delicious, now it all tastes like coconut., not that there's anything wrong with that...

                                                      1. Because I live alone, baking pies/tarts presents a problem: the pan will be in the refrigerator for at least a week, so the last few pieces are quite soggy. Using coconut oil in place of some or all of the butter helps keep the crust firmer, since chilled coconut oil is very solid.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                          I have been baking with virgin coconut oil for a few months now and it is so yummy! I had to ditch the canola oil. Most canola oil is famous for being genetically modified etc. Currently there are studies linking GM canola oil to all kinds of nasties. Coconut oil is like magic! Everything seems to taste 10X better with it. I also use it on my hair and skin (I use Aubrey's conditioner) and I swear its the best conditioner EVER! Anyway, I just made some cupcakes with coconut oil and they are so friggin good.

                                                          1. re: Taterbugruns

                                                            Of the 4 varieties of Ghirardelli brownie mix, I prefer the Dark Chocolate. I make it with virgin coconut oil instead of oil or butter, and add chopped walnuts. Best chocolate dessert I have ever had. That little bit of cocunit flavor takes it over the top.

                                                        2. I've had a tough time finding coconut oil at a good price for cooking, and an acquaintance mentioned using a coconut oil found at a pharmacy as a moisturiser. i bought some, the price is really good, and it's excellent on the skin.

                                                          After reading this:
                                                          "Just be sure to buy coconut oil in its virgin state, not hydrogenated coconut oil. In its virgin state it is semi-solid, smelling faintly of coconut (and can be used as a moisturizer)."
                                                          I'm wondering if that's not just pure coconut oil and I can use the stuff for cooking too? The bottle doesn't state any more detail than 'Coconut Oil', but it's exactly as you've described.

                                                          32 Replies
                                                          1. re: haiku.

                                                            Compare the price to what's available on Amazon, where I bought 54 oz containers for the best price.

                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                              The price differences between products in the US and SA means that that is not a good way of determining, unfortunately. A lot of the stuff that's now common on your side, we don't get except in specialty stores.

                                                            2. re: haiku.

                                                              trader joe's recently began carrying their own brand of virgin organic coconut oil in 16-ounce glass jars for $5.99.

                                                              1. re: wonderwoman

                                                                Trader Joe's can always be counted on for value, can't they? I wonder who's supplying them? Do you know offhand where it's produced?

                                                                1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                  TJ's is a good price. I've stopped shopping there, it may bring me back. No reason for stopping except that I find what I need/want more conveniently elsewhere.

                                                                  'Where' it is produced is somewhat important to me, as well as how it is extracted.

                                                                  But, fat in 'glass' is my only choice.

                                                                  1. re: Rella

                                                                    You've got plenty of options! Dr. Bronner's, Living Food, Tropical Traditions (I think they're only online, though), and Spectrum are all in glass.

                                                                    1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                      The last I bought in a glass jar was from Vitamin Shoppe a 2 qt. I have used Spectrum.

                                                                      An interesting film on Dr. Bronner's life is
                                                                      "Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox" at Neflix

                                                                      http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/Dr._B...

                                                                      1. re: Rella

                                                                        I don't have Netflix and managed to miss it when it ran here. :((
                                                                        My former fiancé knew him...he said he was "mad as a hatter."

                                                                        1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                          It was difficult to watch.

                                                                          1. re: Rella

                                                                            LOL...okay, actually ROTFLMAO.

                                                                            I wanted to check out Trader Joe's oil while shopping today but they've apparently been out of stock for a while, at least in that branch. In the meantime, Tropical Traditions has a two-for-one sale on (glass!) pints of their high-end oil (ending today: http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/vir... ) so even though I haven't tried it yet, I stocked up on four jars--it's artisanal, how bad can it be? Actually it got some rather bad reviews on Amazon but it got raves as well, so I'm taking a shot.

                                                                            1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                              I think there might be something to a review when a reviewer says that it doesn't behave like..."
                                                                              http://www.amazon.com/32-oz-glass-Org...

                                                                              Yesterday when we were at TJMaxx, there were abt 5 jars that we were contemplating at a price of $8 per 14 oz. Something about the way it 'looked' steered us clear of a purchase. Also it did not say "virgin." and it did say "refined."

                                                                              I looked at the site you gave, and am sorely tempted, but...
                                                                              Oh, my, I wish you well on this. Be sure to let us/me know.

                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                Hey, nothing wrong with refined as far as I know. It's what you'd want if you don't want to impart a coconut flavor/aroma. To the best of my knowledge, you still get the benefit of MCT's but none of the antioxidants.

                                                                                The sale is still on today... ;)

                                                                                You might find this link interesting: http://www.coconut-oil-central.com/in... . This guy isn't selling anything so I think he's pretty objective; certainly he's informative. Also, check out the "Reviews" link under the SHOP heading. He reviews oils he likes (there don't seem to be many).

                                                                                1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                                  I note that on
                                                                                  http://www.coconut-oil-central.com/be...
                                                                                  a list says, "no refining."

                                                                                  I usually go with the whole list of caveat/emptor suggestions - a Nervous Nellie, I yam.

                                                                                  1. re: Rella

                                                                                    Ah, but then in the reviews of recommended oils that follows, he recommends one that's refined! Again, if you're looking for flavorless oil for cooking, it's a much better choice because it's much cheaper, probably has a higher smoke point, and the MCT levels are the same.

                                                                                    1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                                      I understand your reasoning. Thanks, Mac...

                                                                                      1. re: Rella

                                                                                        ...and BTW, did I mention that the sale is still on? :)))
                                                                                        Seriously, I hope it tastes good because I bought two quarts (actually 2 ½ but I'm giving one away).

                                                                                        1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                                          Hoping to see your review.
                                                                                          DH who drinks coffee (espresso) actually uses coconut oil in his coffee in the morning (stomach protection, I guess.) He loves the stuff, so we do buy a lot.

                                                                                          The other day we made a (quick) bread/cake out of coconut flour; I don't think the ingredients were correct, though. It was OK, but even though it had loads of butter, it certainly was DRY!

                                                                                          1. re: Rella

                                                                                            Oh, yuck--I hate dry baked goods and quick breads in particular are supposed to be moist. Did you use part coconut flour, part whatever (I'm going to assume all-purpose)?

                                                                                            I like the oil I'm currently using right out of the jar. It's really quite pleasant.

                                                                                            1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                                              I can't seem to find the recipe now, but there was no other flour. It was our first attempt using all coconut flour. I have been a bread baker for many years and my freezers and big containers were full of all kinds of flours. DH and I decided to lay off grain, and the only way that we could do that was to not keep it around. It pains my heart to have given up all the whole grains - kamut, rye, spelt. It's been a few months now and not a pizza in sight at my house. That is why I 'was forced' to bake the cake, or whatever it was LOL. But I do have a recipe ready for coconut flour crackers. I've made crackers with almond flour which have been good. We'll see.

                                                                                              Reason for all this: NO MORE WHEAT BELLY. Actually neither one of are really over weight -- just getting older and watching our health.

                                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                                Was the crumb greasy as well as dry?

                                                                                                1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                                                  We both agree that it was not greasy AT ALL!
                                                                                                  DH just came home and found the recipe -
                                                                                                  http://www.cheeseslave.com/coconut-fl...

                                                                                                2. re: Rella

                                                                                                  Us too...re: not overweight but watching our health as we age.

                                                                                                  A bit OT but I really like chocolate bark with the coconut oil. I keep some in the freezer and break off a piece at night for a snack. Add some almonds to it...yum.

                                                                                                  I also drink a spoonful in my green tea.

                                                                                                  1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                    Health/allergies/food - where to draw the line, when posting, I don't know, so I will go no further.

                                                                                                    But I like your advice/attitude.

                                                                                              2. re: Rella

                                                                                                I use coconut oil and butter in my occasional bullet proof coffee. Amazing stuff! Google it.

                                                                                                1. re: Becca Porter

                                                                                                  Have you thought of using MCT oil instead of coconut?

                                                                                                2. re: Rella

                                                                                                  you have to modify the recipe when using coconut flour. This link has suggestions. http://www.ehow.com/how_7330503_subst...

                                                                                      2. re: Rella

                                                                                        Well, I finally opened my first jar of TT; I have jars from three different production lots. It's clearly a handmade product (sometimes a speck of husk can be found) and the taste of this batch has a sort of smoky undertone (at this point, I prefer the flavor of Dr. Bronner "brown"). The texture, though, is EXTREMELY interesting; some of it is almost gelatinous and what's solid is rather flaky--I really enjoy the mouthfeel (except for those occasional specks of husk). FWIW, an Amazon reviewer posted that (I think) she preferred the flavor of their green label oil to that of the gold label--she said it's very much like Nutiva: http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/vir... .

                                                                                        1. re: Rella

                                                                                          I'm not a fan of the refined stuff at all. The refined coconut oil I've encountered smelled and tasted off. I'd steer very clear of refined, personally.

                                                                                          1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                            I use Spectrum brand coconut shortening fairly often (as well as Earth Balance shortening sticks, which are a blend, but contain a decent amount of palm oil), and neither has an off smell.

                                                                                            The less refined stuff has a different texture and a bit stronger "coconut" flavor, which works better for some things than for others.

                                                                            2. re: MacGuffin

                                                                              from the jar:

                                                                              grown in the phillippines, packed in the usa.

                                                                              1. re: wonderwoman

                                                                                If it's marked "virgin," the quality's going to meet certain quality standards: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coconut_oil (see "Production," second paragraph). Sounds like excellent value.

                                                                            3. re: wonderwoman

                                                                              that's a great price and love glass!

                                                                          2. How right you are. We have gone through buckets of coconut oil that we buy online from Nutiva...it's excellent and we love it. I give it 10 stars!!!

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Jo Zee

                                                                              I love Nutiva. Recently I complained to Nutiva that I have stopped buying their coconut oil because it is in plastic. My preference is to not buy canned food, nor food in plastic containers. They sent me a glass jar of Nutiva coconut oil product that they will be coming out with in the future. I have not tried it.

                                                                              Hardening of the coconut oil is difficult to dig out of the jar when it is refrigerated. But for a pie crust, because I usually use ice cold butter, so why not just measure out the softened coconut oil first, and place it in the freezer for a while before blending it into the flour.

                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                The Nutiva needs no refrigeration. Keep and measure it at room temp, then chill the amount you've measured out.

                                                                                1. re: Rella

                                                                                  I made a shepherds pie today using coconut oil which I had to liquefy and the crust was nice with this. I will try it with the cold coconut oil next time I make a pie crust. I agree it is difficult to dig it out of a jar. My suggestion to you is to keep some out on the counter in your kitchen and use that for every day stuff. I do that and the coconut oil lasts fine. We keep our home on the cool side so the oil is always hard. But come summer that will change, the warm air will make it liquefy by itself.

                                                                              2. I am thinking of making hamantaschen using coconut oil. Will they hold their shape better?

                                                                                1. I am making brownies for a work function, and I have co-workers that cant have butter, can I substitute coconut oil for brownies? and would I need to change the amount I used. My recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter so just use 1/2 cup of coconut oil instead?

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: kdonahue

                                                                                    Yes, sub 1:1. I didn't think I could make a better brownie than the Dark Chocolate Ghirardelli mix gives me, until I began using coconut oil with it. The little hint of coconut flavor it imparts is terrific.

                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                      Awesome. Thank you for your reply.

                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                        Just made this on short notice for a surprise party tonight- I'm not a chocolate fan but the coconut flavor really takes it to a higher level. The man and the neighbor I had try them said they were great.

                                                                                    2. The famous lipid researcher and nutritionist Mary Enig suggests a "perfect fat blend" that I use all the time for everyday cooking. It is equal parts coconut oil, olive oil and sesame oil. The coconut oil stays liquid when you melt it and mix it with the other oils, which is really nice. Really easy to keep in a jar by the stove for saute. If using organic, high quality oils...there is a very pleasant taste- not overwhelmingly tasting of any"one" individual oil.

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: sedimental

                                                                                        LOL I'm too much of an olive oil AND tea snob to mix either with anything (also, I tend not to use much cooking oil; what I have takes a long time to get used). It sounds like a good idea, though. I'm guessing we're talking non-toasted sesame oil...?

                                                                                        1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                                          Yes, non toasted sesame is best. I am also an olive snob (growing up in the Middle East). The blend is for saute, not for finishing. It is more for health reasons than for culinary prowess, but the blend is surprisingly delicious :)

                                                                                        2. re: sedimental

                                                                                          Do you ever mix the blend of three together before use and store it in the refrigerator, or do you most times eye-ball it when braising/using.

                                                                                          I've never heard of this combination. But I like the idea. Now to find some organic sesame oil, or maybe I already have it – will have to look in my cupboard first.

                                                                                          1. re: Rella

                                                                                            Yes, you mix them together and there is no need to store in the fridge. Just make it up in small enough batches. Once the coconut oil is melted and mixed with the other oils, it doesn't firm up again, so you can pour it out of the jar. It is written about in more sites relating to nutrition rather than recipes, here is a nice link:

                                                                                            http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2...

                                                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                                                              You're a jewel! I just read this to DH - he is familiar with Mary Enig. The page is perfect. Today we made homemade mayo for the first time; next time I'll make it with this blend of oils. My post re the mayo:
                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8432...

                                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                                Oh ho, a Bamix fan! Good for you! There are several nice videos on YouTube showing how to make Bamix mayo. Make sure to post your results. :)

                                                                                        3. There is a good book on how fats are processed by the body and which ones are good and which ones are bad: Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill by Udo Erasmus. My organic chemistry teacher in college recommended it to us, she was very big on nutrition. It comes at it from a bio chemical point of view. http://www.udoerasmus.com/fatsmain.htm

                                                                                          My mother used to demo and sell the Bamix handheld mixer when I was young, about 35 years ago. We have been making our own mayo for years. It's very tasty and you can adjust the flavorful ingredients to suit you. You can also make aioli this way, which to me seems the same as mayo with a fancy name. It's cheaper and better for you. I have only used vegetable and olive oil to make it. It's also fun to watch it being mixed up, OH I should make a video! You can also use the Bamix to make a whipped cream topping out of skim milk, and your own peanut butter. I love it. The one I have is about 30 years old, but I just found a store in my area that sells new ones. They are spendy but worth it. Much better than your department store brand immersion blender.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: kismet72

                                                                                            Wow, your mom had a FUN job! And yes, the Bamix rocks. There are lots of Bamix threads here and videos on YouTube.

                                                                                          2. I've seen the coconut oil in jars at my coop and been intrigued.

                                                                                            And I saw a billboard in the last couple days that I think said something like "tropical fries." It showed a bag of french fries. It got me wondering if one of the big franchises like MacDonalds is using coconut oil for fries. As an alternative to the beef fat they got rid of eons ago.

                                                                                            I bet it would be good for fries.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: karykat

                                                                                              The coconut oil that's used commercially is partially hydrogenated because coconut oil is liquid at 76 °F. Once the oil's hydrogenated, the health benefits are gone. Virgin coconut oil's not very good for frying unless it's at low heat because it has a rather low smoke point, unlike refined coconut oil.

                                                                                              Ah, the tallow incident. I remember years ago (probably 1988) that McDonald's used to have little handouts that contained the equivalent of FAQ and their answers. They claimed that their salad and their fries were vegan-- NOT, mind you, merely vegetarian--"vegan." I was VERY unhappy when I found out that they'd lied and even now they don't make it readily known that the fries and hash browns are FLAVORED with beef. Very misleading.

                                                                                              1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                                                This was eons ago that I was making popcorn with that coconut fat. Long before awareness of the benefits of coconut oil. Like in the mid-70s. So you are undoubtedly right. It was very soiid at room temperature and was very likely the partially hydrogenated.

                                                                                                I can't remember when it was learned that MacDonald's was using beef fat for frying french fries. It seems like forever ago. But it really made waves when it happened.

                                                                                                Their fries are flavored with beef? What does that mean? Are they still using some beef fat?

                                                                                                1. re: karykat

                                                                                                  Your coconut oil might have been fine--it's solid below 76º F and can be quite solid. I guess we'll never know. :)

                                                                                                  Not fat, just flavoring. I'm assuming it's fat-free.

                                                                                                2. re: MacGuffin

                                                                                                  I use virgin coconut oil for deep frying all the time. Works great.

                                                                                                  Also, most of what I cook is Sri Lankan curries - the husband is Sri Lankan and his mother taught me her recipes - and coconut oil is the traditional oil for curries. It imparts a very nice flavour to the curries. And many curries are cooked at relatively high temperatures in the beginning of the cooking process for tempering the curry leaves, pandan, onions, garlic, spices - it works great there, too.

                                                                                              2. When I make pie dough I freeze the butter first & then grate it on a cheese grater and add it to the flour. I wonder if I could chill the coconut oil & then grate it? By the way coconut pie dough would be great for coconut custard pie!

                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: chefirish

                                                                                                  you don't have to chill it to grate it as it is hard at room temp.

                                                                                                  1. re: magiesmom

                                                                                                    I would measure the correct amount at room temp, then chill it only briefly. At room temp below 78 it is solid, but about as solid as chilled butter, which is not cold enough for neat grating. However, it gets rock hard when thoroughly chilled.

                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                      That's true.
                                                                                                      I guess I don't really see the need for grating it as it does mix perfectly well for pie crust at room temp, better than butter at a similar texture.

                                                                                                      1. re: magiesmom

                                                                                                        Do you happen to know the brand of organic coconut oil sold at Costco? The price for the size plastic container was remarkably low.

                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                          Nutiva sells their organic 78-oz contain of extra virgin coconut oil at Costco. I bought one a month or so ago for something like 21.99$ at the Richmond, CA location.

                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                            I recenty bought Carrington Farms, the only brand/size available at Costco in New Hampshire for $15.99. The container and aroma are identical to the 54oz Nutiva. I wonder if the same manufacturer packs for different labels. I noticed the same packaging doppelgangers with Costco's agave nectar and Trader Joe's.

                                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                              Good point, I've noticed the same thing about packaging lately.

                                                                                                  2. We use it for everything except in dishes that call for butter of course.