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Why coconut oil?

Why is it so popular now and why, exactly, is it considered to be a paleo food? I am having a hard time figuring out how my long ago ancestors from northern Europe got their mitts on it.

Is it really nutritionally superior? I use a lot of olive oil, scary lots to be honest. Should I incorporate some coconut oil into my diet?

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  1. Can't say why it's trendy or paleo but I have been using it for years when making popcorn and for certain baked items because tastes really good! It's also an amazing moisturizer. That said it would not be a replacement for olive oil in many dishes because of its distinct flavor.

    1. I dig it for curries and other dishes that won't mind a hint of coconut. I don't think it's any more or less paleo than olive oil- just depends on where your ancestors of choice lived.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Hobbert

        Using for curries is a good idea. I shall give it a whirl.

      2. Hi tcamp,

        I believe that it's considered paleo because it's a dairy-free oil (unlike butter).

        I can't speak to its nutritional superiority, but I do find that it imparts a definite "taste" (not bad, just coconutty) when I cook with it. I usually have four oils in my pantry--butter, olive oil, grapeseed, and coconut, depending on what I'm doing, I switch 'em up.

        My go-to's are the oo and the butter.

        Should you incorporate coconut oil? Why not try it? It's not good for everything (IMO)...for example, doesn't stand up to high heat, and for some, the taste is offputting. But try it!

        1. I could use some advice from those with coconut oil experience; my granola recipe calls for 1/3 c of olive oil. It also has coconut chunks in it. We love coconut, but would it be too much to sub c. oil for oo? Or 1/2 and 1/2?

          I've also seen various formulations of c. oil--any suggestions which I should buy for general cooking/baking?

          Gracias.

          13 Replies
          1. re: pine time

            As for your granola, the thing that jumps out at me is that olive oil is liquid @ room temperature and coconut oil is not, not that necessarily is bad. I would experiment.

            1. re: zackly

              For baking I usually just place the jar in a bowl of warm water. It turns to liquid pretty quickly and is easier to measure and mix that way.

              1. re: zackly

                Coconut oil is definitely liquid at room temperature. In my kitchen. :P (I live in a tropical country...)

                1. re: LMAshton

                  My coconut oil is liquid at summer room temperature and a solid in winter. :P indeed.

                2. re: zackly

                  I pop it into the microwave and soften/melt it before baking with it.

                  To the OP, it would be a fine substitution for OO in your granola and and I don't think it would over power the other flavors.

                3. re: pine time

                  I prefer unrefined (aka virgin) coconut oil for both cooking and personal care. I have found cold pressed has a more pronounced coconut flavor but then again that could have just been the brand.

                  In terms of the granola if you love coconut go for it otherwise why not try it with just the oil? You can always add dried coconut later if it's not coconutty enough.

                  1. re: pine time

                    Thanks, all. Guess I'll make a 1/2 batch of the granola with only coconut oil (the only other liquid is 1/2 c of grade B maple syrup). Appreciate the help!

                    1. re: pine time

                      Made that granola w/ virgin coconut oil in place of the olive oil. House smelled great while it was baking. There's a mild "extra" coconut flavor, but not overwhelming. I'll continue to experiment w/ the oil for other uses.

                      1. re: pine time

                        That sounds fantastic. I've just started experimenting with coconut oil. Have to give this a try!

                        1. re: khh1138

                          I now also add 1 tsp of coconut extract, along w/ the coconut oil and coconut shreds. It's actually not overwhelmingly coconut-y, but delicious!

                        2. re: pine time

                          Because of the mentioning in this thread, I recently made granola bars for the first time, and with coconut oil instead of what the recipe called for. It was delicious and the whole batch was gone in no time - we all loved it as a grab and go snack.

                          I am not a big fan of coconut except in curries, but it worked very well with the other ingredients (honey, brown sugar, sunflower seeds and dried figs).

                      2. re: pine time

                        I ONLY make granola with coconut oil- and its amamaaaaaazzziiinnngg! The whole house will smell wonderful. Adds a light coconutty flavor. Just swap the coconut for the olive oil. Don't mix. Warm the coconut oil til its liquid to mix it in.

                        1. re: pine time

                          Coconut oil would be great in granola. I'd absolutely sub in coconut oil.

                        2. I don't know about its virtues as a paleo food but it's a non-dairy fat (as in, no lactose, casein, or whey) that's FAR superior to vegan margarine for cooking and baking. (For eating, such as atop toast--that's another matter.) Virgin coconut oil retains some coconut aroma and flavor; refined is neutral smelling and tasting.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Erika L

                            Virgin also is significantly more allergenic than refined.