Let me start out by saying that I discovered coconut oil about a year ago. At the time, I was semi-knowledgeable about its qualities the most notable of which were that it was a heart healthy fat and that if stored properly, it had long shelf life. On the other hand, I also knew it smelled and supposedly tasted like coconut and that it was expensive, ranking up there with a high quality EVOO.
A year later I can honestly say that any hesitation I had regarding coconut oil has been set aside. I use it in cooking, as a skin moisturizer, and in those all-important healing salves that come out of my kitchen every month or so.
This stuff is so good that I recently purchased a 5 gallon tub from my favorite purveyor, Tropical Traditions. Five gallons! Can you imagine?
Prepperu2019s Guide to... Best Price: $5.74 Buy New $5.99 (as of 12:00 EST - Details) Of course once I shared that little tidbit on the Sunday Survival Buzz, the emails started coming in. What is coconut oil? What is the difference between the various types? How long does it last? What do I use it for?
Holy smokes; I had no idea there would be so much interest in coconut oil. Given the interest and the need to put some credible information together for you, I turned to one of my blogging colleagues for help in coming up with information on coconut oil for preppers.
Daisy Luther is a go-to person for all things healthy and organic and in fact, you might remember her from the Spring Book Festival and her book, The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months. Anyway, here is what Daisy has to say about Coconut Oil.
Coconut Oil: A Prepper’s Panacea
What shelf stable item can be used (nutritiously) in place of butter, shortening, and cooking oil, and then pressed into duty as a health and beauty aid?
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One of my favorite pantry items is my big jar of organic virgin coconut oil, and the crazy thing is, I don’t even like coconuts. If you slip me a cookie that has those nasty little flakes of coconut in them, I’ll probably spit it out – I really, emphatically don’t like coconut! I am stressing this point because coconut oil has a place in the kitchen of even the most die-hard coconut hater (like me!).
Sometimes people who are seeking a healthier lifestyle make the mistake of avoiding all fats. Sure, eating a bag of Doritos covered in cheese is terrible for you (in more ways than just the fat content!) – but certain fats can be a healthy, and very necessary, part of your diet. In fact, these “healthy fats” can actually aid in weight loss, if that is your goal.
Some examples of these healthy fats would be those from nuts, avocados, seeds, certain fish, and coconut oil. Consumption of these fats will improve your hair, your skin, your immune system, and your organ function when consumed in moderate quantities. As well, certain nutrients are fat soluble and can only be properly used by your body in the presence of fat. For example, Vitamins A, D, E, and K should be taken when you eat a small amount of fat.
All coconut oils are not created equally. There are a few basic types of coconut oil, and it’s important to get the “right” kind for your needs in order to reap the full benefits of your purchase.
Refined or Unrefined?
First, you’ll need to decide between refined and unrefined. This relates to the process of extracting the oil.
A refined coconut oil is separated by heat. Refined coconut oil is more heat-stable and can be used in cooking methods like frying. Many people opt for refined coconut oil because it is flavorless and odorless. The shelf life of a refined coconut oil, according to the expiration dates is 18 months to 2 years. A refined coconut oil loses some nutritional benefits but how much really depends upon the refining process that is used.
Expeller Pressed: This is the traditional method of extracting coconut oil. No chemicals are used in this method – the oil is extracted by a machine which physically presses out the oil, then is deodorized by distilling it with steam. If you opt for a refined oil, look for “expeller pressed” on the label.
RBD: The RBD (refining bleaching deodorizing) process often uses chemical solvents like hexane to extract the oil. (Hexane is a toxic chemical that can be used to dissolve adhesive, cement and glue.) This process is generally performed on previously dried coconut kernel called copra, which is often made from lower quality or old coconuts.
An unrefined coconut oil is also called virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil. This oil has the light scent and flavor of coconut, which disappears somewhat when used in cooking. This type of coconut oil has the most nutritional benefits and the shelf life has been documented as anywhere from 2-5 years, to “indefinite”.
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