Virgin Coconut oil is everywhere these days. From cosmetics to medicines to food supplements, it is definitely a phenomenon that is here to stay. It therefore pays to gain knowledge and be familiar with virgin coconut oil.
Definition: Virgin Coconut oil is oil extracted from fresh coconut (not copra) meat by mechanical or natural means. It can be obtained with or without using heat. To protect the oilís essential properties, the production of virgin coconut oil does not undergo chemical refining, bleaching, or deodorizing. Said to be high in vitamins and minerals, it is fit for consumption without the need for further processing.
Physical Characteristics: Pale yellow to colorless oil with a distinct taste and scent. Depending on the method used in the drying and processing, some virgin coconut oil may have a smoky flavor and slight yellowish in color. High quality virgin coconut oil should be colorless and residue free.
According to the standards set by Department of Trade and Industry-Bureau of Product Standards of the Philippines (the worlds largest exporter of coconuts), virgin coconut oil must be colorless, sediment free with natural fresh coconut scent and free from rancid odors or tastes. It is required to have a maximum of .20% moisture and volatile content to prevent rancidity and should not contain food additives. -PNS/BAFPS 22:2004 with Amendment 1:2005.
Methods Used in the Manufacture of Virgin Coconut Oil
1. Drying-Fresh coconut meat is dried to produce the oil. Low heat is used to quick dry the coconut meat.
2. Wet-milling- In this method, fresh coconut meat is not dried. The coconut meat is squeezed out to produce the milk first. The oil produced is separated from the water and solid components (which is mostly protein). It is difficult to remove the oil and various methods like boiling, fermentation, refrigeration, enzymes and mechanical centrifuge are used.
3. Fermentation- This is the traditional method. Coconut milk extracted from the fresh coconuts is fermented for 1-3 days for the oil to separate from the water and solid contents (which are mostly protein). The oil is slightly heated to reduce moisture content and be filtered.