How to Store Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a kind of tropical oil with lots of usages: It is used for a huge variety of things, including cooking, cosmetics and skin treatments. It is also used in manufacturing, often found in oil lamps, and even can be used in diesel engines. Generally, coconut oil keeps very well as it takes a long time to oxidize, which means it won't go rancid as quickly as some other oils.

But that doesn't mean that you can store coconut oil in any old way. By taking care with how to store coconut oil, you can ensure that it lasts for as long as you want it to.

How to Store Coconut Oil

1. Different Temperatures, Two Consistencies  

Most oils work well when stored in a dark pantry or in the fridge, where they benefit from a cool temperature. However, coconut oil can be stored at room temperature without worries about it going bad. Just remember that where you store it determines the consistency. For instance, any coconut oil stored above 75°F will turn to liquid; while anything a bit less than 75°F will keep its consistency of jelly. You can store it in the fridge, but it will be very solid and hard – which is fine if you intend to melt it in a pan for cooking, but not a good thing if you are using it for a skin treatment.

2. Keep It Away From Sunlight

Even though you can store coconut oil at room temperature, you should always store it from direct sunlight which can compromise the quality. Kept in a too high room temperature, the coconut oil will go bad soon. So if you live in a tropical climate or experience a hot summer, take it to a cooler room like the pantry or even the fridge.

3. Store It Under a Constant Temperature

Remember that when it comes to how to store coconut oil, don't keep it in the bathroom – the fluctuation in temperature can make it go bad before its time. You also want to keep it at a constant temperature if possible, so don't store it in the fridge, then leave it on the counter for a few days, and go back and forth like this.

4. Use Clean Utensils

Finally, remember to use only very clean utensils when scooping coconut oil out of the container. Any bits of food or debris can cause the coconut oil to go moldy, which can cost you the entire jar.

5. How About Large Bulk?

When it comes to how to store coconut oil that you have purchased in bulk, it takes a little more preparation. Most coconut oil in bulk comes in five-pound containers. To store it properly, melt down the coconut oil in a large pot and stir it to get an even consistency, and then dispense it into smaller containers, such as pint or quart jars. Store the coconut oil as previously directed.

What Is the General Shelf Life of Coconut Oil?

Most producers of coconut oil claim that it has a shelf life of up to two years for refined oil, and up to four years for virgin coconut oil. However, the shelf life can be extended even further if you know how to store coconut oil properly as explained above. The biggest point is to store the coconut oil in a cool, dark place as mentioned. A sealed container on a pantry shelf is great. If your pantry gets any light at all, put it in a cabinet with a closed door.

How to Identify If Your Coconut Oil Has Gone Bad

Even if you do all the right things and follow the instructions on how to store coconut oil, sometimes it might go bad, despite all you have done. But how can you tell?

Start by taking a good look at the oil. If it looks discolored or you see mold floating in or on top of it, you are probably dealing with bad oil. Though some people swear that you can just remove the mold and use the rest of it, that's not a good idea, as you can't tell how deep the mold has permeated the oil.

Once you know it looks fine, move to the smell and the taste. If the smell is bad, the oil is rancid –throw it out! But if the smell is just fine, try a little taste. As long as it isn't off-putting, it should be fine to use.

How to Make Use of Coconut Oil

1. Use It to Cook

When it is time to use coconut oil, how you stored it makes a difference. If you stored it in the fridge, you will have a solid piece of coconut oil that can be as hard as a rock. You might need to let it thaw a bit on the counter to get even a little bit out. If the oil is liquid, you can put it right into the pan. Most coconut oil has a smoking point of 350°F – meaning that at that point it will begin to emit a bit of smoke, which can affect the taste of your food. So, watch your temperature closely if you are going to sear something in coconut oil.

2. Coconut Oil Also Has Cosmetic Uses

It is excellent for those with sensitive skin, and can be used to make lotions, body wash, conditioner for your hair and even first-aid uses such as a treatment for skin rashes. It can also keep your lips smooth as silk, even during the harsh winter months.

3. More Ways You May Not Expect

You can also use it in a variety of ways you might not expect.It works well as an aftershave, balm for sore nipples during breastfeeding, an insect repellent, a way to ward off athlete's foot, and much more from the video below:

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