Now that fats are en vogue again, let’s take a closer look at coconut oil which has been trending in recipe books, cooking shows and blog postings. But not all coconut oil is created equal. We like unrefined, non-hydrogenated and organic – all good indications that you will get the maximum health benefit from adding coconut oil to your diet. Even better, we’ll share a coconut-based cookie recipe that has been all the rage in our house. Come and cook with us!
The way the coconut is processed has a lot to do with the benefit of the final product, so search for unrefined (or virgin) oil, which means that it is minimally processed and comes form fresh coconut. Additionally, any indication that the oil has been (partially) hydrogenated is a sign that the oil has been increasingly processed to make it less likely to spoil. Hydrogenation turns the coconut oil into a trans-fat, and we all know to avoid those. With the increasing demand on coconut oil, the use of synthetic chemicals in the production has also increased, which is why I choose the organic version.
Though technically a saturated fat – it remains solid at room temperature – coconut oil in moderation is very good for you. The right kind contains about 50-60% lauric acid, which boosts your immunity and has antiviral, antibacterical and antifungal properties. It’s these medium chain fatty acids that can also be found in breast-milk and are said to be so good for you.
So what to do with all this goodness? I’ve used coconut oil to cook with high heat – it’s said to be the most stable for high-heat cooking – although you have to like the flavor of unrefined coconut oil. My kids’ favorite way to use coconut oil is to bake cookies. They are based on coconut flour, are easy to make and, let’s face it, how often do I tell you to go and bake cookies! Go and bake! Come and cook with us!