Does Coconut Oil Go Bad and What You Can Do About It

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If you are a frequent user of coconut oil, one of the most common questions that come to your mind is “ Does coconut oil go bad ?”. Coconut oil is one of the vegetable oils which commonly used in cooking, cosmetics and even for medicinal purposes.

Unlike most vegetable oils, coconut oil is quite lasting, but eventually, it will still become rancid. In a lot of ways, coconut oil is very much the same to other vegetable oils such as essential oil. However, it can also be very different. So, in this article, we will share with you a few tips on how to know if the coconut oil is spoilt and how to keep them properly to ensure a longer shelf life.

Does Coconut Oil Go Bad?

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Just like any other vegetable oil, coconut oil can spoil, but it has a longer shelf life in comparison with other vegetable oil such as olive oil. Like all food based products, coconut oil has an expiration date printed somewhere on the packaging, and it normally ranges from between 1 to 4 years depending on the manufacturer.

How to Tell if Coconut Oil is Bad?

Few indicators that will tell you that your coconut oil has gone bad. Normally coconut oil has a slight sweet smell that is not too intense. However, if it smells sour or sharp, it is a sign that it is starting to go bad. As for the texture and color, coconut oil is usually white solid or transparent liquid, but if it has turned yellow, it means that the coconut oil is deteriorating.

Another indication of coconut oil going bad is by looking for mold at the top of the solid oil or speckles of particles typically green or brown at the bottom of the jar. In certain cases for food, if mold is only formed on the top layer, you can still scrape it off and use it.

Storing your Coconut Oil to Prolong its Shelf Life

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Now you will be wondering how to store your coconut oil to extend the duration of its shelf life and to make it last as long as possible. The first thing you should know is that coconut oil can be stored in liquid or solid state. Coconut oil dissolves into liquid at the temperature of 75 °F (24 °C), therefore if the temperature in the room is higher than that it will be liquid and if the temperature is below the melting point, then the oil will be solid.

Store in cool and dry places

When it comes to storing coconut oil, it is best to keep it in a dry and cool location and also remember to seal the container tightly. Since coconut oil can be used for different purposes, it is best to use two separate containers for cooking and or cosmetics.

Also, it would be wise to keep the coconut oil away from cabinets above the stovetops as that area tends to get warm while cooking and could change the temperature of the coconut oil. If the coconut oil is meant for beauty or healthcare purposes, it is advisable not to store it in the bathroom as the excess moisture in the bathroom can also lead to its deterioration.

Use clean and dry utensils

When you are scooping out the oil for cooking or another usage, always use clean and dry utensils. Avoid using fingers when scooping the oil to prevent cross contamination or bacteria. Although the coconut oil does not oxidize easily and also has the characteristics of antimicrobial properties, the existence of other contaminants could make it go rancid or form molds on the top layers of the coconut oil.

Some people choose to store their coconut oil in a smaller container for frequent cooking use and another significant portion in a bigger container in the fridge especially when they have limited cabinet space.

Choosing the Best Coconut Oil to Suit your Needs

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Now you know that coconut oil does go bad, it is important to select the best quality oil when buying them. The variety of brands and types of coconut oil is subject to the source, processing of the oil, packaging, and marketing. Expensive coconut oil tends to be good, but it does not always ensure the best quality

Coconut oil is categorized into refined and unrefined or also known as “virgin” or “extra-virgin.”

Refined Coconut Oil

Refined coconut oil is tasteless and odorless, and due to its refine process it can withstand a slightly higher cooking temperature, and it does not dominate the flavor and is suitable for when you need lots of clean, pure malleable fat in your food. Refined coconut oils do not provide the same benefits of unrefined or virgin coconut oil, but it is still an excellent source for most of the beneficial fatty acids. Most coconut oil available in the grocery stores are usually refined unless stated otherwise.

Unrefined Coconut Oil

Unrefined coconut oil is often labeled as “virgin” or “extra-virgin,” and it is made from the first pressing of fresh coconut without additional chemicals. Depending on how the coconut oil is extracted from the coconut, the flavor can be intense or mild and if the oil is exposed to more heat, the stronger the coconut flavor will be.

To find out more about refined vs. unrefined coconut oil, watch the video down below:

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Characteristics of a Good Coconut Oil

The color of coconut oil is the primary indicator of its quality. In liquid form, it should always be colorless, and in solid form, it should be white. Any sign of discoloration is an indication of low quality, or the coconut oil has been contaminated.

The flavor of the coconut oil is another indicator. Unrefined coconut oil can be mild or intense and refined coconut oil is always tasteless and odorless. If there is a roasted or smoky flavor, it means that the oil may have been heated a few times.

What if your Coconut Oil Goes Bad or Rancid?

If your coconut oil does go rancid, never eat it, cook with it or put it on your skin. Just throw the spoilt coconut oil away because it will give you health problems such as diabetes or even cancer. Also, remember that your skin is the biggest organ and anything that you apply to it will end up in your body system.

However, here is a list of things you could do with the rancid coconut oil:

  • Furniture polish
  • Oil cutting board
  • Oil Sewing machines
  • Silence squeaky door hinges
  • Make soap or candles

So now, you should know the answer to “does coconut oil go bad?” is YES, it does go bad if not rightly stored or gets contaminated. If your coconut oil has been stored for more than six years, you can also assume it is expired and just discard it.


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