Coconut oil is one of the most beneficial oils on the planet. It is derived from mature coconuts that have aged on the coconut palm. These wonderful coconut palm trees are found in abundance in tropical climates and are available year round. Many indigenous people all over the world have been using this oil internally and topically for centuries. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this oil. To be fair, lets entertain the "Bad" for a moment. I have heard that the fat in coconut oil is over 90% saturated fat. This fat is said to be the most damaging and artery clogging fatty acid. Although there are two types of fatty acids (medium chain and long chain), the one that is said to be most damaging to the human body and raises LDL(bad) cholesterol is the long chain fatty acid which is found in the coconut oil. I have even read articles from doctors that say "Ounce for ounce, coconut oil has more saturated fat than butter, beef tallow, or lard and it is bad for your heart." Unfortunately when they mention this, they do not tell us that It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in actively preventing various heart problems like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The truth is that all saturated fats are not created equal. I have not seen, read, nor heard about someone being on their death bed with clogged arteries from consuming too much coconut oil. It's like having a smoothie made up of organic fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds vs a honey bun (the ones you find in vending machines). Even if they have the same amount of calories it is obvious that the former is going to be much healthier for you. Although I strongly disagree based on information that I have gathered from clinical studies, my family and other people with a strong connection to the land who have used this oil for generations, I feel that it is always good for someone new to consider all information that is presented with an open mind. Then make a conscious decision based on facts. Now lets get into some of the benefits of coconut oil.
Benefits of coconut oil:
Stimulates thyroid function
Boosts energy - helps against chronic fatigue
Nourishes the hair and scalp
Strengthens teeth and gums when oil pulling
Protects the skin from sunburn
Nourishes the skin when applied topically
Soothes the entire GI tract
Can lower cholesterol contrary to popular belief
Effective against many STD's
Normalizes blood sugar levels
Prevents liver spots
Heals and prevents scarring
Soothing to sunburns and other skin conditions
Helpful for regulating weight
Easy to digest and does not upset healthy gut flora
There are some great coconut oils available on the market and although they are a bit costly, you really get what you pay for. If you are short on time and need some oil right away, check your local health food store and make sure that the only ingredient is coconut oil and nothing else.
Now that you have a better understanding about what coconut oil is and is not, lets begin the process of making our own. Remember that on average, 6 well mature coconuts will equal about 1 cup of oil.
Step 1: Harvest mature coconuts. When a coconut is mature the white meat inside can be over a half of an inch thick. The best way that I have found to tell if a coconut is mature is when it has turned brown and become dry on the tree. Do not be mistaken. Some coconuts are brown and full of water. You must look for the combination of brown and dry/ dull color. If not sure, then just wait until the coconut falls from the tree. Once a coconut has reached full maturity, the tree will release it and if left unattended in rich soil, another tree will begin to grow out of that nut.
Step 2: Open and remove all of the coconut meat and place into a large bowl. There are a few ways to do this. I use to place a wooden stake in the ground and with the coconut tightly held in both hands, slam it into the stake and peal off the husk. You can also place a 24 x 24 inch plywood on the ground with the coconut on top and chop straight through the husk and nut with a sharp machete (see above pic). Once opened, take a butter knife or any flat and long object that is not sharp and remove all of the coconut meat. Rinse the coconut meat and check for any wood pieces stuck to the back end.
Step 3: Once all coconut meat has been removed and there are no wood pieces on the brown end of the coconut, you are now ready to grater the coconut meat. There are two ways to do this. You can do this by hand using any large grater, or have it done automatically with any slow auger juicer with the blank screen connected. Just make sure you cut the coconut into pieces that will fit in the juicer. Either way the result will be similar to the picture shown.
Step 4: Evenly spread the coconuts on dehydrating trays (see pic to the left) and allow to dehydrate for about 24 hours. This will shrink the coconut meat and remove all of the water content. As a result you will be left with only the coconut oil and coconut shreds (See pic below).
Step 5: At this point, you will now run the coconut shreds through a slow auger juicer only this time you will use the mesh screen to ensure that the oil and the shreds separate.
Step 6: After processing your dehydrated coconut shreds, allow the oil to sit for 24 hours. You will notice that after a few hours, the coconut oil begins to rise to the top and a brown coconut butter sinks to the bottom. Once this process is complete you have two choices. Either carefully poor out the coconut oil to ensure none of the brown butter exits with the oil, or get a large and deep spoon or cup and scoop out the oil carefully.
Finished: And now you are all done. Now you see that making your own cold pressed coconut oil is not hard at all, but it does require a bit of preparation and wait time. However, the finished product is well worth it. Please keep in mind that this is a "cold press" method of making coconut oil and requires no heat.
Storage: Once complete, store the oil at room temperature. Any temperature below 76 degrees F (24C) will cause the coconut oil to solidify so if you are planning to use it make sure the oil is stored a little above this temperature.