Expeller Pressed vs. Cold Pressed Coconut Oil

In order to create an oil, you need to extract or remove the oil of the plant from the roughage. In order to do this, the seed, nut, legume, or grain needs to undergo a specific process that separates the roughage from the oily parts. This can be done mechanically or chemically. When doing the chemical process, the manufacturer soaks the plant material into a toxic solvent, such as hexane, which pulls the oil out of the plant. The producer then needs to refine the oil in order to take out the toxin so that the oil is not toxic and can be used to cook. The amount of oil made by this process is higher than the amout using the mechanical method of extracting oil. So which will be your choice when choosing coconut oil?

Expeller Pressed vs. Cold Pressed

These are the main differences:

Expeller Pressed Method

This is a chemical-free process that uses mechanics and expeller pressing in order to squeeze the oily material in a press that operates mechanically. There is no application of heat to the plant bass nor is heat applied to the oil that is finally expressed. If the source of the oil is a seed or nut that has a hard shell, the friction from the shells in the expelling machine might increase the oil temperature at the time of the extraction.

Cold Pressed Method

This is the method used when oils are sensitive to heat. The process is nearly identical to the mechanical method of extracting oil except that the temperature is made steady so that the temperature never rises above 120 degrees Celsius. By controlling the temperature, the subtle flavor of the oil is not impacted upon by the heat. When it comes to expeller pressed vs. cold pressed, the methods are similar except for the temperature regulation. Cold pressed oils have the greatest degree of aroma, flavor, nutritional richness, and color.

What Is the Wise Choice for Coconut Oil?

All types of coconut oil have some things in common:

  • They are recreated by the white flesh or meat of a fully-grown coconut that has been allowed to grow for 10-12 months from flower to seed.
  • The flesh has the water, proteins, and fiber removed in order to leave behind the oil.
  • The oil from the coconut is extracted and is completely stable at room temperature.
  • The oil is much more stable than other types of oil because it is made from saturated medium chain fatty acids that cannot easily be oxidized.
  • The factors involved in the quality, price, taste, and stability of the oil depends on how effectively the water, fiber, and proteins are eliminated from the flesh and which method is used for extraction.

Expeller Pressed vs. Cold Pressed Coconut Oil: How to Decide

When the coconut oil is expeller pressed, the oil is squeezed from the meat using a machine shaped like a screw. There is both friction and pressure involved that can cause the temperature of the mixture to be about 99 degrees Celsius. Some of the nutrients can be lost but this is minimal.

When the coconut oil is cold pressed, the temperature during the extraction process is about 60 degrees Celsius or lower. This preserves the most nutrients in the oil.

The winner in this processing duel is clearly the cold pressed method.

What About Unrefined vs. Refined Coconut Oil?

Refined coconut oil is also referred to as commercial grade coconut oil. It has no odor or taste. It is highly processed and stable on shelf. In some cases, this refined oil is hydrogenated or is partially-hydrogenated, creating trans-fats in the process.

Unrefined coconut oil consists of a richer flavor when compared to the refined variety of coconut oil. There is very little processing involved so that the nutrient content (anti-oxidants, vitamins, and proteins) is higher.

The winner among these two is the unrefined type of coconut oil.

What About Extra Virgin Coconut Oil vs. Virgin Coconut Oil

There is actually no particular classification defining virgin and extra virgin coconut oil. This is only the case among olive oils, in which there is a completely different taste, fatty acid composition and procedures for harvesting. It is only a matter of semantics to refer to a particular coconut oil as being extra virgin or virgin so basically they are the same.

In an overall battle between expeller pressed vs. cold pressed coconut oil, the winner is unrefined cold pressed coconut oil. In second place is expeller-pressed coconut oil.

FAQs on Coconut Oil

How to Tell the Extraction Process by Appearance

If the original label on an oil is missing and you would like to try and found out if it is expeller or cold pressed, or chemically extracted, there are clues that may help you. Those oils that are chemically extracted are considered “refined” oils. They are clear in color and have no rancid taste or debris within the oil.

Those oils that have been mechanically extracted are milkier in appearance. They have pieces of plant parts and proteins in them that make the oil less refined. It usually has a stronger and more pleasant odor and likely the oil has not become spoiled. It will, however, become rancid if you don’t keep it in a cool and dry place. All unrefined oils can be considered to be sensitive to heat and light.

How Long Does Coconut Oil Remain Fresh?

You can keep coconut oil fresh for around two years. This makes for a very long lasting oil. It is completely up to you to decide whether or not to refrigerate the coconut oil. If you keep it outside of the refrigerator, it will likely not become rancid in its liquid or solid form. If you store it at room temperature, however, it is usually easier to spread and scoop out of the container.

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