Categories: Coconut

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EXPELLER-PRESSED COPRA OIL AND COLD-PRESSED COCONUT OIL?

When it involves buying copra oil, there are many options out there.  To be sure you are getting the best one for your needs, study expeller-pressed vs. cold-pressed and expeller-pressed vs. refined oil.

EXPELLER-PRESSED VS. COLD-PRESSED

Expeller-pressed copra oil refers to employing a method to press the oil from the coconut, using either heat or steam.  Cold-pressed copra oil is formed by pressing the oil out of the coconut without heat.  During the method, the temperature remains below 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is assumed to assist the ultimate product to retain more nutrients.

One thing to observe for on the label when you are buying your copra oil, whether it is heat-pressed copra oil or not, is if it is “partially hydrogenated”.  Many copra oil products are partially hydrogenated to assist in the shelf-life while also helping to make it a solid-state at temperature.  As the hydrogenation process can create trans fats, which are not healthy, these should be avoided.  You will even notice some copra oil is labeled virgin, and a few are labeled extra virgin.  When it involves vegetable oil, these two phrases mean various things.  That is not the case when it comes to copra oil.  They are equivalent.

EXPELLER-PRESSED VS. REFINED OIL

Refined copra oil is formed using dried coconut, also referred to as copra.  All refined copra oil is expeller-pressed copra oil and is not cold-pressed.  Once the oil has been released, it is heated or steamed to get rid of odors.  From there, it is bleached by passing it through clay to get rid of bacteria and impurities.  Chemical solvents can also be used by some brands to extract the oil from the copra.

Refined oil features a higher smoking point than unrefined oil, reaching 400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit as compared to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for your standard virgin or extra virgin copra oil.  The upper smoke point makes it suitable for deep frying.  The refining process removes all of the coconut flavor and odor, which also allows for more versatile applications.

When stored properly, you should expect refined copra oil to last a couple of months.  Store it in a cool, dark place in an airtight container or the refrigerator. 

WHICH COCONUT OIL IS BETTER?

Because the utilization of warmth in expeller-pressed copra oil, it is assumed this decreases the nutritional value, it is better to settle on cold-pressed copra oil.  But once you compare expressed vs. refined oil, there is no great way to mention one is best than the opposite.

Unless you are using copra oil in an application where you do not want a coconut flavor, otherwise you will need a high smoke point, you will be best not to use refined oil.  Due to the creation of trans fats within the refining process, it is best to avoid refined copra oil whenever possible.

Chamath Dilshan

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Chamath Dilshan

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