Yes, it’s absolutely true. No matter what the question may be, the answer is always coconut oil!
A few years ago it seemed that olive oil was the gold standard for consuming fat healthfully. Then, like a wonderful gift from the heavens, coconut oil made its way to the mainstream market.
Where have you been all my life, coconut oil!
I’m getting giddy just thinking about what to tell you first! Do I tell you that it’s great for your health?
Should I tell you what a mild and yummy coconut flavor it imparts on your food?
Maybe I tell you about my extra jar of coconut oil that I keep on hand and use for everything from cleaning, to moisturizing, to placebo-treating boo-boos with boo-boo cream?
Mmmaayybbee, let’s just start with the uber basics, shall we? Coconuts are ridiculously high in fat and AMAZINGLY, almost all of that fat is the notoriously labeled “saturated fat”. But, before you have a coronary on me! Hear me out!
Coconut oil’s saturated fat is not the same kind of crud you get from butter, meat, and cheese. Now THAT is artery-clogging, heart-breaking awful fat and if you’re reading this with me, you probably already know this.
Nearly half of the fatty acids found in coconut oil are called Lauric Acids. When broken down, these acids, in short, do awesome things for your body.
The health benefits of coconut oil will come in a later post but for now, let’s continue to focus on the amazingness of coconut oil in the kitchen!
The most obvious way to cook with coconut oil is to replace it with whatever oil you currently use to sauté your veggies, caramelize your tofu, or bake your most amazing chocolate chip muffins.
You can substitute just about any oil 1:1 with coconut oil. It has a good smoking point of 350 degrees as well, so it can hold up to most recipes without burning. Some people will say it’s not ideal for frying as it’s easy to go beyond that 350 degree point, but here I am in my kitchen frying up stuff left and right and everything looks good to me! (That’s a scientific Vegan opinion ya’ll).
Now, there are some instances where the flavor of coconut oil is not the best option for a dish, such as if you were making a delicate dessert that does not feature coconut, or maybe when making eggplant parmigiana? Hey, it could still work but just a word to the wise, that coconut oil’s flavor is not quite as neutral as olive or vegetable oil.
One last thing that I think is super important! When shopping for coconut oil, look for oil that is organic and unrefined, meaning it has not been processed or heated as much as it normally would.
Refining oil can damage it’s healthful attributes, therefore making it just an unpleasant lump of fat. Unrefined oil is a great option, and do not worry if it is a solid or a liquid. It will naturally change based on the temperature as coconut oil begins to melt around 75 degrees.
As with a few of my other ingredients, I have not found and fallen in love with one particular brand of coconut oil just yet. I try to make sure the organic and unrefined coconut oils that I spend my food dollar on come from a good, ecologically aware source. That is not always easy to discover with today’s marketing tactics.
Currently, I have been using Carrington Farms Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil. It’s affordable, meets the criteria, and I can find it at almost any grocery store I’ve been to. Yay, win-win!
As always I love hearing about what YOU use in your kitchen. Have a favorite coconut oil? Drop me a comment and let me know!