Coconut oil is a topic of some debate depending on your reasons for using it, but cooking with coconut oil is quickly becoming the thing to do for many people.
Cooking With Coconut Oil
There is quite a lot of back-and-forth amongst nutritionists and scientists regarding coconut oil and whether cooking with coconut oil is a health benefit or not. Coconut oil is considered a saturated fat so on the surface it seems to be not-so-good for you, but scientists and nutritionists are taking a second look and also point out that all fats, even saturated fats, are not created equally.
That means that when you get down to the science of it and the effect of coconut oil in the body and arteries, it really is not a straight comparison. It’s really something to read up on from different sources and make your own decision.
Why Cook With Coconut Oil?
- Regardless of the science, though, many cooks are choosing to switch totally or in part to cooking with coconut oil, for a number of reasons.
- Coconut oil is a plant-based product, coming from coconuts, so is a great choice for vegetarians and vegans.
- Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so makes a good alternative for vegetables shortenings and butter, with similar results.
- Coconut oil replaces dairy-based butter so often serves as a dietary substitute in baking for people with issues with dairy and butter.
- Coconut oil allows for traditional baking with simple substitution.
- Coconut oil still allows for flaky crusts and pastries.
- Coconut oil has a great taste that is favored by many.
Uses for Cooking With Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can be used in a variety of ways in cooking, including the above uses. In addition, these are some other recommended uses for cooking with coconut oil:
- Use coconut oil as a spread in place of butter on toast and crackers, etc.
- Mix coconut oil into things like rice, oatmeal, cereal.
- Use coconut oil in drinks and smoothies.
- Replace milk and dairy in recipes to substitute for cream, yogurt, milk, and butter.
- Use coconut oil as a replacement for fats in recipes (like shortening, butter, etc.)
- Use coconut oil to replace other types of oils.
Some Notes About Coconut Oil
As with all ingredients, cooking with coconut oil can be a bit different just because it is a new product that takes some getting acclimated to. Coconut oil has been used in tropical locales for a very long time, though; it’s really not new, just new to you. So it helps to know a few things to expect:
- Be aware that the oil in frying, etc. may cook at different temperatures than your regular oil and “act” a little differently. Just pay attention and take some care when getting to know cooking with coconut oil.
- Coconut oil is generally solid at room temperature, but room temperature can vary. It is not uncommon to have yours be solid at the store and liquid at home or vice versa. Coconut oil tends to liquefy around 76 F.
- You can use your oil in either state and it is safe, but it will make a difference in your recipe for texture.
- If you need liquid coconut oil for cooking, place the container in a bowl of hot (not boiling) water.
- Cool liquid oil (in a refrigerator, etc.) to make it solid.
Coconut oil is loved or hated for its distinct, nutty, buttery flavor. You may love it or hate it, but you will never know if you don’t at least try, and you just might find that cooking with coconut oil is your new favorite!