Coconut oil has been proven to be a beneficial oil for both health and beauty. This oil is packed with antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.
Coconut oil is one of the best oils for weight watchers when used in moderation and can also make a simple meal taste so heavenly.
Coconut oil, or copra oil, is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm.
In recent years, the popularity of coconut and particularly coconut oil has soared because of touted health benefits.
It contains no cholesterol, no fiber, and only traces of vitamins, minerals, and plant sterols. Plant sterols have a chemical structure that mimics blood cholesterol, and may help to block the absorption of cholesterol in the body.
Coconut oil offers a variety of health benefits and can be used for cooking as well as skin and hair care. You can make your own virgin coconut oil at home using a coconut and a few simple tools.
Types Of Coconut Oil
All coconut oil is extracted from the meat of the coconut. The big difference between refined and unrefined coconut oil is the way in which the oil is extracted and how it is subsequently processed.
However, there are three main types of coconut oil, which are unrefined coconut oil, refined coconut oil, and liquid coconut oil.
1. Unrefined Coconut Oil
Unrefined coconut oil is coconut oil that has been extracted from fresh coconut meat, using methods such as wet-milling or quick drying. This process keeps all the naturally occurring phytonutrients and polyphenols intact. Unrefined coconut oil is often referred to pure or virgin coconut oil and its has a natural taste and flavour.
2. Refined Coconut Oil
Refined coconut oil is oil that has been extracted from previously dried coconut meat with chemical solvents or through physical extraction methods. Coconut oil produced this way must be purified through refining, which means some of the beneficial nutrients in coconut oil are lost.
3. Liquid Coconut Oil
Liquid coconut oil is the last type of coconut oil. This is coconut oil with lauric acid removed. What is left is two other medium-chain fatty acids with lower melting points.
Equipment/Materials For Coconut Oil Extract (All You Will Need For Coconut Oil)
- Hard object for cracking/breaking the coconut(preferable, A hammer)
- Coconut milk from matured coconut
- A butter Knife for prying out the coconut meat
- A sieve/strainer(with very tight holes) or a cheese cloth
- A saucepan or pot
- A blender or dry mill or grater
- A sterilized jar with a lid
- Hot water(Optional)
- Tip: A medium sized coconut will give you about 30 ml Coconut oil (more or less)
How To Make Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has loads of health benefits and you can now prepare it in the comfort of your home. Here is how to make or extract your coconut milk at home
First of all, remove the cap from the coconut you collected. It can be removed by lightly tapping the cap on the rock. Now place the coconut on the big boulder, uncapped portion facing down. Lift the other rock with both hands and hit hard on top of the coconut. After few hard hits, you will find cracks on the sides and the husk gets loosened. Remove the loosened husk from the nuts.
Holding the husked coconut in your palm, lightly tap on the edge of a rock in a circular motion. The coconut will crack open, you can collect and drink the coconut water in the bowl or helmet whatever it may be. Here you can see four halves from two coconuts cracked open.
You can remove the coconut meat using any sharp metal object, you can use a coconut scraper, sharp paring knife, or a sturdy metal spoon. Removing the meat is tricky. A butter knife is much better than a sharp paring knife or a sharp end of a broken spoon. You can slide it in between the meat and the shell and ‘pop’ pieces off, rather than slip, and cut your hand.
After prying out the coconut meat from the shell, place in a bowl of clean water. Wash the coconut meat and cut it into several pieces and place in a blender or dry mill. If you don’t have a blender, don’t cut the coconut meat into tiny pieces, simple grate the coconut using the smaller sides of your grater.
Place the pieces into a food processor.
Turn on the food processor to a medium speed and blend until well shredded. Add a little water to help it blend if necessary. Ensure you grind the coconut meat into a very smooth paste. If you are using a dry mill, grind the coconut meat without any water added. The next thing is to pour the grated or milled coconut into a wide neat bowl.
Now pour out the mixture through a sieve/strainer(with very tight holes) or a cheese cloth and squeeze with your hands to make sure that you get all the milk out into a jar. Place the coconut chaff into a bowl and add a little more water .Repeat the same process until the milk you get is no longer ”milky.”
Leave the jar unattended for at least 24 hours. As it sets, the coconut milk and oil will separate and a layer of curd will appear at the top of the jar. Refrigerate the jar so the curd hardens more quickly if you will like. If you will prefer not to refrigerate it, leave the jar in a cool room.
Now, gently scoop out the solidified coconut cream and place it in a clean sauce pan or pot. Heat up the coconut cream, on low heat and stir constantly until it starts to bubble at the top and a clear oil begin to show.
Use a wooden stick to stir the milk while boiling. Carry on till all the water gets evaporated from the mix. This may take considerable time as all the water needs to be evaporated. Now you can see oil bubbling on the surface of the heated milk. Remove from fire and allow the oily milk to cool down.
When the mixture is sufficiently cooled down, you can separate the oil from the mix. You can use a small piece of cloth, the size of a hand-kerchief for this. Lay the piece of cloth flat over the heated mix and lightly press with your fingers. You can note that the cloth is absorbing oil from the mix.
Remove the piece of cloth and fold it keeping the side facing-up out. Squeeze the oil from the cloth into another container please note that this oil still contains lots of coconut flesh.
Keep the oil still to settle down. After few minutes you will find the pure coconut oil floating up, so gently tilt the container and slowly drain out the oil into another container.
You got pure coconut oil, which you can use for your hair, on your body and also for cooking. The left-over may still contain some oil, which you can use on your body to cure sunburns and for relief from itches caused by insect bite.
NOTE: This type of coconut oil can easily last for a year or at least 8 to 10 months. You should place it in an airtight container and don’t leave it out in the open else it can get contaminated and lose its qualities.
Benefits Of Virgin Coconut Oil
Not just for cooking, coconut oil can be put to many more uses. It is medicinal and has several healing properties.
1. It is a good moisturizer, especially for new born babies because it is mild and fresh.
2. A teaspoon of coconut oil first thing in the morning before breakfast is good for your stomach and helps in boosting your digestion. It is also great for the Ayurveda practice of oil pulling that aids digestion.
3. It can help lowering bad cholesterol levels which most of the refines oils we use today have been found guilty of causing cholesterol problems.
4. It is a great beauty ingredient and can help in controlling dandruff and preventing acne.
5. Coconut oil is a great remedy for mouth ulcers. Dab some coconut oil over the ulcers and let it stay overnight. You will feel relieved the next morning.