There are two key types of coconut oil available in the market – 1) virgin coconut oil and 2) refined beached and deodorized (RBD) coconut oil also called ordinary coconut oil.
Virgin coconut oil is closest to a coconut and undergoes minimum processing. RBD coconut oil on the other had undergoes processing like a normal vegetable oil. One of the key difference in the properties of these oils is due to the process followed to make them.
There are multiple ways one can produce virgin coconut oil. Fermentation, cold pressed and centrifugal being popular ones. Cold pressed or expeller pressed is one of the popular methods used to produce virgin coconut oil.
What is cold press / expeller press method
To extract virgin coconut oil, coconut should be subjected to minimum heat and chemicals. In cold press method of production a mechanical press is used to extract oil from the coconut. The prpcess is as follows:
- Fresh mature coconuts are cut and dried / dehydrated using heat (but not at high temperatures).
- A mechanical press is then used to press these coconut flakes to extract oil from them
- Putting pressure dies increases the temperature of coconut but it is so low that it does not alter its natural properties at all
There might be some solids which remain the oil. They are then removed using simple filtration techniques.
As one can notice this method of making coconut oil is not very complicated and can be produced at both small and large scale. In tropical regions where high end mechanical press engines are not available bullock based pressing techniques are used to extract the oil.
What are benefits of a cold / expeller pressed coconut oil?
These are no additives added and there are no heat and chemical treatments. Coconut oil produced using cold press / expeller press method is pure and retains all the key health promoting nutrients of a coconut namely – medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, etc. This means that almost all key health benefits one associates with coconut meat are also provided by this oil. Thus as compared to ordinary coconut oil (RBD coconut oil) cold pressed coconut oil has potential to provide more health benefits.
The second key benefit of cold / expeller pressed coconut oil is its aroma and taste. This oil tastes like fresh coconut and smells like the same too. Thus the food prepared using this oil has natural aroma of coconuts.
Limitations with using cold / expeller pressed coconut oil
This type of coconut oil has low smoking point (smoking point is a temperature where an oil starts degenerating ) and thus not very suitable for deep frying etc.
This oil is also expensive as compared to ordinary coconut oil because of obvious reasons.
Some people consider cold pressed coconut oil better than the one produced using fermentation as the taste of fermentation based oil changes from batch to batch thus leading to inconsistencies.
If you have used cold pressed coconut oil share your views with others on what you think about it.