What it is:
Coconut oil is edible oil extracted from the kernel of matured coconuts. Coconuts are derived from the coconut palm tree. In Sanskrit the coconut palm tree is known as the kalpa vriksha – the tree which gives all that is necessary for living – as mostly everything from the coconut palm tree can be used in some way or another.
Where it’s from:
Coconut palm trees are native to Malaysia, Polynesia and southern Asia, and are now also prolific in South America, India, the Pacific Islands, Hawaii and Florida.
Where it’s produced:
Coconut oil is mainly produced in the Philippines, Indonesia and India. Interestingly enough, although it takes up to a year for coconuts to mature, a palm tree blooms up to 13 times a year, therefore continuously producing a harvest.
What it tastes and looks like:
Coconut oil has a snow-white colour and is solid at room temperature. It has a high melting point (24°C), and turns to clear, colourless liquid once heated. The oil has a mild nutty, coconut aroma and flavour.
How to eat / use it:
Coconut oil has a variety of uses – from food to medicine to cosmetic products. Because of its nutty, coconut flavour, the oil is a great addition to baked goods. It has also widely been used as an ingredient in skin moisturisers, soaps and other beauty / wellness products.
A good source of:
Coconut oil is high in medium chain fatty acids, meaning they are easily digested and sent right to the liver for energy production. It also consists primarily of lauric acid, which boosts immunity and fights infection. Coconut oil does, however, contain a large amount of saturated fat, so moderation is key.
According to the Dr Oz website, the benefits of coconut oil include:
Weight loss – keeping you fuller for longer, firing up your metabolism and because less than half the fat of coconut oil contribute to the fat in your body, coconut oil is a great way to shed some kilos.
Skin / hair ailments – coconut oil is packed with antioxidants, which means it’s a wonderful moisturiser for your skin and also your hair.
Coconut oil also fights off fungus, yeast and candida and reduces cholesterol, increases digestion and helps to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
Why not try out this natural, delicious fudge recipe courtesy from www.lookbookcookbook.com?
½ cup virgin coconut oil, room temperature
1 ¾ cups organic confectioner’s sugar (you can also use standard icing sugar)
½ cup organic cacao
½ cup natural peanut butter
½ teaspoon natural vanilla extract
Melt coconut oil in a pot over medium low heat. Add sugar and stir well with a spatula.
Turn down the heat and mix in the cacao, peanut butter and vanilla. Stir well.
When mixed, remove from heat and pour into a small dish or container so it is about 2 to 3cm thick. Refrigerate until it hardens.
When solid, carefully cut into small squares on a cutting board. You may need to leave it out for a few minutes to make cutting easier. Keep cold until serving.