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I am a huge fun of coconut, including coconut oil. I use it everywhere, from my bathroom to my kitchen!
You can find lots of different coconut oils in every store, but how do you pick the best, most healthy coconut oil? How do you know whether to get a refined or unrefined, virgin or extra-virgin. What’s the difference between the cheap coconut oil you see in your grocery store shelf and the high-quality oil you can buy online?
Virgin vs. Extra-Virgin
Virgin coconut oil is oil derived from the meat of mature coconuts. It’s the good, fatty oil that comes as a result of processing the meat. It has a very definite taste. If you are not a huge fun of the taste of coconut, you many want to look for an alternative. There is no difference between virgin and extra-virgin oils. It is simply a marketing term and nothing else, so don't get fooled and pay extra for something that is not 'extra'.
Refined & Unrefined
A refined coconut oil is usually tasteless and odorless. Refined coconut oil refers to coconut oil that has been bleached, and deodorized. Because it has been refined, it can usually withstand slightly higher cooking temperatures before reaching its smoke point. Refined coconut oils are great for cooking foods without a dominating coconut flavor.
Unrefined (unfiltered and without any additives) coconut oil is normally considered virgin or pure coconut oil, it has a light coconut taste and aroma. It is made from fresh, raw, coconut meat.
Cold Press & Expeller Pressed
Cold pressing extracts a relatively smaller amount of oil but retains most of its nutrients.
Expeller-pressed coconut oil is also good quality but is processed at higher temperatures, it has less nutritional value than the cold press oil.
Cold-pressed coconut oil is processed at lower temperatures, it contains a higher phenolic and nutrient content than expeller-pressed oil. Expeller-pressed is a good choice for baking when you want to add a nutty, toasted flavor, cold-pressed coconut oil for dishes that call for a mild, more neutral taste. Between the two, cold pressed coconut oil is healthier than expeller pressed coconut oil is; however, expeller pressed coconut oil still retains more beneficial properties than refined coconut oil does and is a healthier choice.
Look for virgin coconut oil, that has not been hydrogenated, bleached, refined or deodorized. Also it’s better to choose the ones in glass jars than the ones in plastic (they are normally mass-produced and lower quality), in this case more expensive is a better choice. Whichever you will decide to buy remember the best choice is the most natural one, the less chemicals the better for you!