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Refined vegetable fat/refined coconut oil
Coconut oil, or copra oil, is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). It has various applications. Because of its high saturated fat content, it is slow to oxidize and, thus, resistant to rancidification, lasting up to six months at 24 °C (75 °F) without spoiling.
Coconut oil can be extracted through dry or wet processing.
Refined, bleached, and deodorized (RBD) oil is usually made from copra, dried coconut kernel, which is pressed in a heated hydraulic press to extract the oil. This yields practically all the oil present, amounting to more than 60% of the dry weight of the coconut. This crude coconut oil is not suitable for consumption because it contains contaminants and must be refined with further heating and filtering.
Another method for extraction of coconut oil involves the enzymatic action of alpha-amylase, polygalacturonases, and proteases on diluted coconut paste.
Unlike virgin coconut oil, refined coconut oil has no coconut taste or aroma. RBD oil is used for home cooking, commercial food processing, and cosmetic, industrial, and pharmaceutical purposes.
Fractionated coconut oil provides fractions of the whole oil so that its different fatty acids can be separated for specific uses. Lauric acid, a 12-carbon chain fatty acid, is often removed because of its high value for industrial and medical purposes.The fractionation of coconut oil can also be used to isolate caprylic acid and capric acid, which are medium-chain triglycerides, as these are used for medical applications, special diets and cosmetics, sometimes also being used as a carrier oil for fragrances.
Coconut oil has a long history in Asia, particularly in tropical regions where the plant is abundant, where it has been used for cooking. It is the oil of choice in Sri Lankan cuisine, where it is used for sautéing and frying, in both savoury and sweet dishes. It also plays a prominent role in the cuisines of Thailand and Kerala.
As an oil relatively recently introduced to Western countries, coconut oil is commonly used in baked goods, pastries, and sautés, having a nut-like quality with some sweetness.It is sometimes used by movie theatre chains to pop popcorn. Coconut oil adds considerable saturated fat and calories to the snackfood while enhancing flavor, possibly a factor increasing further consumption of high-calorie snackfoods, energy balance, and weight gain.
Other culinary uses include replacing solid fats produced through hydrogenation in baked and confectionery goods.Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated coconut oil is often used in non-dairy creamers and snack foods. In frying, the smoke point of coconut oil is 177 °C (351 °F).
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