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coconut oil - refrigerate?

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A couple of friends have been going on and on about the wonders of coconut oil. On impulse last week I grabbed a container of it while at Costco. Needless to say it came in a 55 gallon drum (yes I'm exaggerating, its only 1 1/2 quarts) Anyhow, because its warm here all year (84f here today) i put it in the fridge. Then I decided to use some and found that it had the consistency and hardness of the surface of an ice rink. I'm guessing that refrigerated is not how most people use it. But at room temperature it is an oil, not a paste that I usually see. Any comments?

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  1. The oil will change states depending on the temperature. In my kitchen in Baltimore, the surface is usually liquid during the summer and then for most of the year it's more paste like. I imagine you could keep it on the counter or split it in half and keep half on the counter.

    1. I keep mine in the fridge just to extend the shelf life, and in a large container i would suggest you do the same. If you need it liquid just gently heat after you measure it out. It does look weird when cold and solid, but stays liquid at room temp or above.

      1. I don't refrigerate it and I've never had an issue. We keep our house about 68 degrees and it's firm in the jar in the cabinet. I use Nutiva if that makes a difference.

        1. refrigerated is fine for small amounts going into smoothies, for sauteing, in some recipes that normally call for "chilled" butter or shortening. I've heard frozen and shaved (with a cheese grater) makes delicious pie crust, though I've never tried it myself. Melted, liquid state is useful for most applications - anything calling for oil. it doesn't take much to melt it - i think 78 is the melting point so, yes, you might have to keep it in the fridge in your location if it seems like too much to handle. I've never had it go rancid, but I don't keep it more than a few months at a time.

          does this answer any questions? not sure what you are asking..

          1 Reply
          1. re: rmarisco

            essentially that. I don't want to end up throwing half of it away when it turns bad - so I think ill let it come back up to temperature and decant some of it into a smaller jar and leave that out. The rest goes back into the fridge until its time to refill the smaller container.

            i'm amazed how hard it gets, quite solid, not like shortening or bacon fat at all. but then i do keep my refrigerator on the coldest setting (as a single person, it keeps fruits and vegetables fresh longer since i don't use them as fast as a family of four would.)

          2. Coconut oil takes a LONG time to go bad--as in years, not months. It's great for baking--things turn out much moister and with a finer crumb that with butter, and they don't dry out or go stale nearly as quickly.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Erika L

              Good to know about the stale factor, Erika.

              I don't refrigerate mine, K-Man. I live in the Northeast, though, so it's around 68 in the house (if not cooler) much of the year.

              1. re: pinehurst

                thanks pinehurst, unfortunately my kitchen is rarely much below 80 - ever. Maybe in the early morning hours in mid winter it will get down to the upper mid 70's. But with this turning liquid at 76 degrees (24c) I don't expect it ever to be solid. I'll just have to experiment.