Can Coconut Oil Go Bad? How Is Coconut Oil Stored?

Coconut Oil
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Does coconut oil go bad? What is the shelf life of coconut oil? Learn how to store coconut oil correctly and the telltale signs of faulty coconut oil.

What Is Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil comes from the fruit of the tropical coconut palm tree (Cocos nucifera), which yields meat that is about thirty-five percent oil by weight. Approximately 86 percent of coconut oil is saturated fat, which makes it extremely stable and resistant to oxidation and rancidity. It has a smoking point of about 440 degrees Fahrenheit and a melting point of about 78 degrees.

Making chocolate truffles and other no-bake desserts with coconut oil is possible because it solidifies at room temperature. In addition to its many uses in skincare (as a moisturizer) and health, coconut oil is a useful pantry staple.

Does Coconut Oil Ever Go Bad?

Although coconut oil is perishable and has a long shelf life, it eventually goes bad. Coconut oil can be kept fresher for longer by being stored correctly in an airtight container. Use coconut oil only if you are certain it hasn’t gone rancid.

Immediately throw away coconut oil that has gone bad. Consuming or using spoiled coconut oil can raise the body’s levels of free radicals, which are linked to cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases.

How Long Does Coconut Oil Last?

There should be a date on every coconut oil bottle or jar. The majority of the time, it will be a “best by” date.

This date is just an estimate, but it lets you know that coconut oil should be at its best up until that point. The “best by” date is typically two to four years from the date of production.

Naturally, coconut oil doesn’t just magically spoil a day or two later. The oil will be fine for months or even years longer provided that no contaminants got to it.

Its quality will gradually deteriorate with time, but it will still be safe to use. Coconut oil is safe to use as long as there are no visible signs of spoilage.

After the jar is opened, the previous instructions remain the same. It still keeps well in storage for a long time. There’s no rush in using it. Use it sparingly and only when necessary.

Please keep in mind that the times are estimates, and you should always check to see if the coconut oil is safe to use before using it.

Coconut Oil

How Can I Tell If Coconut Oil Is Bad?

Examine the coconut oil’s appearance, smell, and taste to see if it has gone bad. What you should pay attention to is as follows:

  • Color. As opposed to milk-like whiteness, solid coconut oil is clear when it is liquid. It turns creamy when it melts and then turns back into a solid (see below). However, throw it away if yours starts to turn yellow.
  • The presence of any organic growth and black spots. It is best to throw away the fat if there are any indications of organic growth, whether they are visible on the surface or when the oil is liquid and floating around. Your oil may develop mold if it is repeatedly exposed to mold spores.
  • Rancid smell. You should be aware that virgin (unrefined) coconut oil has a nutty, coconut-like aroma. Refined coconut oil, on the other hand, smells fairly neutral, which is why it is frequently used in cooking. The oil needs to be disposed of if it smells strange, particularly if it is bitter, sour, paint-like, or makes you think of chemicals.
  • Rancid taste. Once more, virgin coconut oil has a faint coconut flavor, whereas refined coconut oil is flavorless. It’s not good if yours tastes somewhat sour or bitter.

You can tell that I chose to ignore the melting and solidifying of coconut oil, which is the real problem. That is due to the fact that neither demonstrates spoilage. In the section after that, I go into more detail about this.

If something else arises that doesn’t fit the typical signs I listed above, trust your instincts and adhere to the maxim “better safe than sorry.”

If the coconut oil looks a little off or smells strange and you’re not sure if it’s still safe to eat, assume that it has gone bad. Alternatively, use it in one of the numerous ways you can use coconut oil besides cooking.

Do You Have To Refrigerate Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil does not need to be chilled. Both newly opened and previously unopened jars don’t need to be refrigerated.

The oil can be chilled if you prefer it to be solid and very firm, but that is really the only justification. If not, simply store it in a cupboard with minimal summer heat.

For myself, I keep coconut oil in a kitchen cabinet, where it remains solid but scoopable for the majority of the year. Every time there are two or more hot days in a row in the summer, the oil melts, and I’m okay with that.

How Should Coconut Oil Be Stored?

Coconut oil oxidizes slowly, so it doesn’t spoil for a very long time. Virgin coconut oil can last up to five years, compared to the 18 months for refined coconut oil, as was previously mentioned. But that does not imply that you can simply store it however you please. Any oil that is carelessly stored has a greater chance of quickly going bad.

To properly store your coconut oil, follow these hints:

  1. In a cool, dark location, keep coconut oil. Quick rancidity of your oil can be brought on by exposure to light, heat, and air.
  2. Both the pantry and the refrigerator are suitable places to keep coconut oil. Depending on the temperature, coconut oil can exist in either a liquid or a solid state. It will be in a liquid state if you store it at room temperature; if you store it in the refrigerator, it will solidify.
  3. Keep the temperature of the oil constant. As a result of chemical reactions brought on by temperature changes, oil can deteriorate more quickly.
  4. If you’re scooping oil, use clean utensils. Mold growth on your oil may be a result of contamination from used utensils.
  5. To prevent air exposure, which accelerates oxidation, always keep your oil sealed.

Conclusion

While coconut oil does not last indefinitely, the printed expiration date does not necessarily indicate when it starts to go bad. However, if you keep it tightly sealed and in a cool environment, coconut oil can frequently be used for a few months after the “expiration” date.

Furthermore, coconut oil benefits from refrigeration, though you don’t have to. It works well to keep it in the pantry or kitchen, far from any heat sources.

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