In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you reuse coconut oil” with an in-depth analysis of the characteristics of coconut oil that can decide whether it should be reused or not. Moreover, we are also going to discuss the composition, smoke point and the problems associated with the reuse of coconut oil.
Can you reuse coconut oil?
Yes, you can reuse coconut oil for cooking or frying purposes. Refined coconut oil is generally considered to be safe for reusing over unrefined coconut oil as it has a lower smoke point than the first one. But still, it is your own choice to use any oil for reusing as it has been associated with several health problems and is known to alter the flavor as well as the aroma of the food.
However, the best way is to put enough oil in the pot beforehand so that it can be used completely and if any amount is left, it should be well preserved.
Coconut oil is a white tropical oil that is extracted from the flesh of coconuts. There are two main forms extracted: refined form and virgin or unrefined form.
A refined form of coconut oil is produced from dried copra instead of a fresh one. The production of this type of coconut oil includes various preparation methods or stages, including deodorization and bleaching. Due to the passing through various processing stages, this oil is known to possess less aroma and coconut flavor.
On the other hand, unrefined forms of coconut oil are less processed and possess a strong aroma and flavor. Based on the extent of processing, this oil is further labeled as “virgin” or “extra-virgin”. The term virgin is generally referred to as less processed oil and both the virgin and extra-virgin forms are made from the less processing of fresh coconut without the addition of any chemicals.
Composition of coconut oil:
Coconut oil is 100% fat, of which most of the fat is saturated fat and serves as a main source of energy when consumed in a diet. It also contains vitamin E that is known to exhibit the best antioxidant properties. Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs) that the body cannot store easily and are burnt readily when exposed to heat.
You can read the health benefits of coconut oil here.
The smoke point of an oil is referred to as the temperature at which the oil breaks down and begins to smoke. Generally, refined oils have higher smoke points as compared to that of unrefined or virgin form. In this regard, the smoke point of unrefined coconut oil is 350° F and of refined coconut oil is 400° F.
Coconut oils are mainly consistent with saturated fats that are stable at high temperatures and can be used easily for cooking, frying, or deep-frying purposes. As unrefined coconut oil has a higher smoke point as compared to unrefined form, so it is preferred to use refined coconut oil for cooking and frying purposes, especially deep-frying.
Other FAQs about Oils which you may be interested in.
Reuse of oils:
Oils can be reused. As the oil cools, one may store the oil by straining it to remove any burnt particle, then store it in a jar and place the jar at refrigeration temperature. But try to observe the appearance of oil before reuse, for example, an oil stored for a longer period may get rancid, produce foam at the top, and emit a bad smell.
Reuse of coconut oil:
Like many other vegetable oils that can be considered safe for reuse due to higher smoke points, coconut oil is also considered safe and okay for reuse. But there is a slight difference between fresh oil and already used oil as already used oil contains the flavor of the food cooked in it earlier.
The main thing to be considered while reusing oil is its smoke point. Once the oil is heated, the smoke point starts to drop which means that the oil will get burnt at less temperature when heated for the second time.
In this regard, unrefined coconut oil is not the best candidate for reuse. On the other hand, one may use refined coconut oil more than one time due to its higher original smoke point. But still, you need to be careful while reusing an oil and coconut oil should also be used only 4-5 times due to the health hazards caused by reusing an oil multiple times.
Problems with reusing an oil:
Certain harmful molecules or free radicals are produced in foods cooked or fried in already used oils. These harmful substances attack the healthy cells of the body.
Free radicals produced in food when consumed lead to the occurrence of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, hypertension, and premature aging.
Heating cooking oils at a high-temperature releases harmful or toxic compounds that have been associated with respiratory diseases, liver damage, cancers, inflammatory issues, and cataracts.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you reuse coconut oil” with an in-depth analysis of the characteristics making coconut oil suitable for reuse and affecting the quality of food products in one way or the other. Moreover, we also discussed the problems related to the reuse of oils at a general level.