Does Coconut Oil Go Bad?

The running joke in the food community is that one simple product can be used to better your health inside and out. That product is coconut oil. This nutrient dense fat is used in many different ways including cooking, baking, skin care and hair care. Cooking foods with it is one easy way to increase your healthy fat intake and gain important nutrients from coconut that your body needs. Many cooking oils can breakdown or become rancid over time, leading some to ask "Will coconut oil go bad?"

Does Coconut Oil Go Bad?

In general, coconut oil does not spoil and has a fairly long shelf life when stored properly. Like all food based products, coconut oil has a “Best By” or “Use By” date printed somewhere on the packaging. This helps consumers understand when to use the product to ensure best quality. The appropriate use by date can range from 1 to 4 years, depending on the manufacturing process. And how you use and store coconut oil can impact its shelf life. For example, if your oil is continually heated and cooled, this can decrease its good-to-use time. Also, if you introduce bacteria into the container by using dirty cutlery or fingers, this can break down its preservative ability.

How to Know If Your Coconut Oil Has Gone Bad

There are a few tell-tale signs that will help you answer "Does coconut oil go bad?"

  • Coconut oil should have a slight sweet smell that is not overpowering. If it smells sour or strong, it is starting to go bad.
  • Coconut oil is typically a white solid or clear liquid. If it has begun to turn yellow, then it is no longer good.
  • Look for any mold on the top layer of the oil solid. Some people agree that you can scoop out the molded parts and use the remaining oil; however, each user should use their own discretion on the matter.

How to Reserve Your Coconut Oil

How you use your coconut oil will impact its longevity. A few tips to keep coconut oil from going bad are:

  • Always use clean utensils when scooping out oil for cooking.
  • Never use fingers to scoop oil.
  • Consider having two different containers for oil used for cooking and oil used for body care to prevent cross contamination and bacteria.

Since you get a positive answer to the question "Does coconut oil go bad?" you should know how to store coconut oil to extend its life. When storing, you should know that like many food grade items, coconut oil can change when it is exposed to light, oxygen and heat.

  • Always be sure to seal your container tightly and store in a cool, dry location.
  • Avoid areas like the cabinet above your stovetop as the space can become very warm while cooking and change the temperature of the oil.
  • As seen with most oils, putting coconut oil in the fridge can lead to it becoming hard and difficult to use. However, keeping it in the fridge can prolong the lifespan.
  • Some consumers may choose to keep a smaller container on the counter for regular kitchen use but a larger one in the fridge.

Different methods work for different consumers. If you have limited cabinet space, then storing in the fridge may be preferable. A few things to know about storing coconut oil are:

  • Coconut oil becomes a liquid at 75 degrees. This means that during warmer months, your oil may liquefy when left out.
  • Oil can be stored in liquid or solid form, largely dependent on atmospheric temperature. However, it is also possible to purchase fractionated coconut oil which is already processed into liquid form and does not solidify.

How to Select the Best Coconut Oil

Does coconut oil go bad? Yes, they can. But if you choose the best quality oil at the beginning, you will enjoy it longer. Different brands and types of coconut oils vary in price depending on their source, processing, packaging and marketing. Although high price usually mean good, it doesn't always guarantee great quality.

  • Color: When coconut oil is liquid, it should be colorless; when solid, it should be white. Any discoloration may indicate inferior quality or contamination.
  • Flavor: Unrefined virgin coconut oil tastes and smells like coconut without any overpowering or strong flavor. If there is a roasted or smoky smell, the oil may have been heated multiple times. Besides, refined coconut oil is neutral tasting and odorless.
  • Others: Coconut oil can be pricey. Since it can be stored for a long time (at least 1 year), you can buy a big bunch a time which may help save money. Do have a taste of the coconut oil before buying to make sure you love it. You can choose different brands to find your favorite.

Watch the video to know the various types of coconut oil to help in deciding which coconut oil to buy: 

 
 
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