Real Food Mama

Musings about cooking, eating and everything in between.

Coconut Oil Disasters and Lessons Learned August 17, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Home Economics — realfoodmama @ 2:03 pm
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Coconut oil is one of those Real Foods that I have been wanting to try for some time now. I have read all the health benefits and have been fantasizing about having baked goods that taste faintly of coconut. Unfortunately the organic extra virgin coconut oil sold at my local Co-Op is rather cost prohibitive, being more than a dollar an ounce with amounts to a minimum purchase price of $16 for a teeny-tiny jar. I had a hard time rationalizing the expense when I could buy other, more necessary, items with that money.

So you can imagine my enthusiastic response to the cheaper imported coconut oil found at the international food market! It was less that 50 cents an ounce and according to the label was unbleached, contained no chemicals and was extra virgin. It was also from India.

I should have known better, but I was caught up in the novelty of being at Talin. This grocery store is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a full hours drive from where I live, and when I am there I go kind of nuts, buying everything I can find that seems novel. Unfortunately the novelty of inexpensive coconut oil wore off as soon as I opened the jar and tried some. Sadly I was home by that point.

Now, I don’t know anything about coconut oil, so maybe what I am about to share isn’t all that odd, but when I opened the jar and tried it, the distinct smell of chemicals wafted out to me. Disturbed, but unsure how to proceed, I tasted it. While it certainly didn’t taste rancid, it didn’t taste particularly good, either, and it definitely didn’t taste like coconut. Against all instinct, I proceeded to use it the recipe regardless in the event that my senses were deceiving me and this was actually how coconut oil was supposed to smell and taste.

Sadly my unwillingness to trust my foodie instincts resulted in an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies being destroyed. I put a few tablespoons in the batter, following a recipe using coconut oil which I discovered online. The results were not only awful in flavor, but also in texture. There is nothing in the world I hate more than a crunchy cookie, and the coconut oil I used made these things as hard a hockey puck – not to mention the chemical aftertaste.

Suffice it to say the experience reinforced something I already knew: Never buy cheap ingredients!

I have not given up on the coconut oil experiments however. I simply will not be using this particular brand again and will have to destroy the remainder of the jar. The next time I buy it I will definitely select the higher end, quality ingredient. And I will also be sure to trust my instincts so as to not ruin a perfectly good desert!

Until then, Happy Eating and trust your instincts!

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3 Responses to “Coconut Oil Disasters and Lessons Learned”

  1. Coconut oil should always smell and taste like coconut. If it doesn’t… don’t eat it. You can use the cheap stuff for your skin if you don’t mind the smell too much (can cover it up with some essential oils). The BEST place (and price) where I buy high-quality organic extra virgin coconut oil is on http://www.vitacost.com and the name is Nutiva. I buy the 54 oz for about $22.00. The regular shipping is fantastic… $4.99 flat rate. I’ve been using this oil for a few years now and love it in everything.
    I am still in search for local coconut oil here in Costa Rica. I’ve found a few and tried two different kinds… the smell and taste were terrible… like rancid car oil. Ugh! I have two more to try and I am HOPING one of them will be good enough.

  2. Kristi Says:

    Great post. I, too, have read about the health benefits of coconut oil and was interested in trying it. Thank you for the information. I will be very careful when I go to purchase it.

  3. […] for me. And this time I am trying something new, which is also always fun. I finally replaced my toxic chemical cheap coconut oil with some of the good stuff and am making a big batch of coconut granola. Here’s how […]


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