There are numerous applications of coconut oil in both beauty products and in the kitchen. The natural oil is enjoying much popularity at the moment as a major ingredient in most skin and hair care product while it is also useful as a cooking oil.
But one of the major challenges you might face when it comes to using this slightly sweet oil is in making it last longer. This is because Storing coconut oil can be a major challenge since it has a low melting point, but with the right handling procedure and storage methods, you can preserve the shelf life for more than a year or two.
Choosing a Storage Space
In most cases, when you purchase coconut oil from your local store, it is sold in a transparent bottle or jar so you can see what state the content is in. Once you have opened the bottle or jar for the first time, you might need to transfer the content if you wish to preserve it for use at a later date.
Ideally, you would need to empty the contents into a dark container as direct contact with sunlight is not good for coconut oil. Once in a dark container, you would also want to keep it at an area in the kitchen that is not directly exposed to sunlight. A closed dark cupboard is the best place to store your cooking oil for later use.
You also will want to avoid using metallic containers to store coconut oil as they are known to be reactive and can alter the taste of the content. Refrigerators are also a good place for storage.
However, if you want to solidify your coconut oil or if it happens to melt, then the best place to keep it, is in the refrigerator. Empty the content in a tightly covered plastic container and keep it in a closed refrigerator until you achieve your desired texture, then you can transfer it to your cupboard for storage.
You can leave it in the refrigerator permanently, if you want it to remain in the solid-state. Still, note that it doesn’t really matter whether it is in the solid or liquid state, you can use it the way it is provided in a tightly covered and dark container, to prevent air and direct light from coming in contact with the coconut oil, so as not to affect the quality of the product.
The Best Temperature for Coconut Oil
The best temperature to keep your coconut oil is at constant warmth. Frequent cooling and heating can quickly cause the oil to spoil; that is why it is best for you to decide on the right temperature you want it to remain at, and keep it at that. You can choose to either keep it in a tight container, place it in a dark cupboard and leave it there till when you want to make use of it, or leave it to solidify in the refrigerator without taking it out to melt every now and then. The key is to keep it in one place, provided it is tightly covered and away from direct sunlight.
The Shelf life of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can stay the same for up to 24 months (2 years) provided that it is properly preserved to prevent molds and other harmful agents from getting into the jar. As stated earlier, you will have to avoid keeping the content in a metallic container, as they can affect the quality of the oil, given that metals are reactive when exposed to constant expansion and contraction.
The best step to take is to keep it in a glass container or thermoplastic (BPA-free) where it would be safe from corrosion or the effect of constant heating and cooling.
Also, when you choose to keep coconut oil in the refrigerator, do not forget that it is quick to solidify which can make it difficult to scoop out for use in the kitchen or for your skin and hair. So if you would be making use of it frequently, it is best you keep it safe in the pantry, away from sunlight where it will remain in its liquid form.
Prolonging the Shelf life of Coconut Oil
With a few tips and tricks, you can extend the shelf life of coconut oil to ensure that it stays up to the 2 years period of its shelf life without altering the quality and taste by simply
- Securing the lid tightly on the container
You will also want to ensure that whichever container you use to store your coconut oil, be it plastic or glass, is tightly covered to prevent air, water, or insects from coming in contact with the content inside the jar.
- Use dry and clean utensils for collecting the oil inside the Jar
This is important to prevent bacteria that can be found in dirty or wet measuring cups and spoons, from coming in contact with the coconut oil which will make it spoil a lot faster.
- Inspect the content once in a month
If you store a large quantity of coconut oil, you’d have to check it every month or two to ensure that it is free from mold and unpleasant smell that could mean, that it is no longer safe for use in the kitchen or on your skin. A yellowish coloration or the presence of green or brown dots inside the jar is a sign that you need to throw the oil away as it has become rancid and no longer has its best quality.
When you purchase coconut oil from the store or supermarket, it is usually in the solid form, but you could easily heat it up quickly to melt it for use either in the kitchen for frying, baking or to add it to your own homemade beauty product.
Thus, when storing coconut oil, remember to
- Keep it in a tightly covered, dark glass or plastic container.
- If you do not have a dark container, you should ensure that you keep it in a dark corner of the pantry or in the refrigerator away from direct contact with sunlight so as to improve the shelf life for up to 2 years.
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