Coconut oil is the healthiest fat to cook with, and you can replace almost any oil in any recipe with coconut oil. In fact, I only keep two oils in my kitchen, coconut oil and olive oil. The olive oil I use only for salads.
Interesting Facts and Tips about Cooking with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. It starts to melt at 25 °C (76°F).
You do not need to keep your coconut oil in the refrigerator, even if it is hot and it melts. It is resistant to oxidation, so it's entirely up to you.
One of the biggest benefits of cooking with coconut oil, is that it has a high smoke point. This makes it the best oil for all types of cooking methods, even deep frying.
Coconut oil is the healthiest oil to use for deep frying. When deep frying with coconut oil, it is advised to use refined oil, which has a smoke point of 450°F.
Unrefined coconut has a lower smoke point of 350°F. Use unrefined “virgin” coconut oil for all your other cooking as it is pure and contains no additives. Unrefined coconut oil also has a beautiful “coco-nutty” flavor.
Why cook with an oil that has a high smoke point?
When a fat is heated past its smoke point it will begin to break down and release free radicals. Free radicals are not good for your health.
Why worry about free radicals?
Free radicals attack DNA, which can ultimately lead to cancer. Free radicals also attack collagen and lipids that keep the skin firm, leading to dry skin and aggressive aging.
Also, as the fat breaks down and degrades, it will start to produce gasses that easily ignite. Not a good idea in the kitchen!
To save yourself some time, you can warm your entire jar of coconut oil over low heat and put the oil into molds. This way when you need a piece of coconut oil you do not need to chop at it, you just pop a coconut block out and use. You can keep them in or out of the refrigerator.
If you are baking with coconut oil, you will need to warm the oil first. You can use it instead of butter and/or shortening too.
An alternative to coconut oil, would be coconut butter, which contains some of the coconut flesh too; making it more nutrient dense. You can make your own coconut butter. Coconut butter is amazing on toast!