Does Coconut Oil Go Bad?

Does coconut oil go bad? Coconut oil is one of the vegetables oils. It’s used in many areas of life: in food, industry or as a cosmetic (e.g. as a skin moisturizer or for dried hair)[1]. It’s widely used in tropical countries as a great source of fat. Since it’s often used in the tropics, one might wonder if it’s more stable than other oils and whether it has a longer shelf life. That’s only partially true. In many cases coconut oil is similar to other vegetable oils, but there are also differences between them. Let’s start off by discussing how to store coconut oil.

How To Store Coconut Oil

Most vegetables oils should be stored in the pantry or in the fridge. Coconut oil gives you a little wider area of choices. You can store it in the pantry, in the fridge or in room temperature. The thing you need to know is that its melting point is around 75 °F (ca. 24 °C). If there’s hotter in the room where you keep it, it should be liquid. If there are a few degrees less, it’ll be of jelly consistency. If it’s even lower, the oil will be solid. Keep in mind that if you’ll store it in the fridge, it will become hard as a rock. Coconut oil can be stored in both mentioned consistencies – liquid and solid. If oil is very hard and you can’t scoop any amount from the bottle (or jar), heat it for a while and you’ll be able to scoop some oil after a few minutes of heating.

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There’s one more thing about scooping oil from the jar or bottle. You can do it using a spoon or your fingers (in you prefer doing it that way), but always remember that the utensils you’re using must be clean. If you’ve used the spoon for other purposes, remember to wash it before scooping oil with it. That’ll avoid the oil going moldy all over its surface.

Coconut oil (similarly to other oils) can suffer from light, oxygen and heat. Keep the container tightly sealed and out of direct light (e.g., in a cupboard). When it comes to storage temperature – if you store it in a room where the temperature is really hot, it’ll go bad quicker. Therefore, if you live in a tropical country or there’s hot summer at the moment, I suggest storing the coconut oil in a cooler room, like in the pantry. Also, avoid storing coconut oil in a room where air temperature often changes (e.g., in the bathroom).
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Shelf Life Of Coconut Oil

Every bottle or jar of coconut oil should have a “use-by”, “sell-by” or other expiration date. It’s just a rough estimate and it informs you that in almost all cases coconut oil will be fine up to that date. Sometimes it’s 1.5 years, sometimes 4 years. It’s pretty safe to assume that coconut oil should be fine for at least 1.5 years, but in most cases it’ll be fine for considerably longer period of time, like 3 or 4 years. As long as you can’t spot any signs of spoilage, coconut oil is fine to use.

How To Tell If Coconut Oil Is Bad

Since coconut oil has a lot of saturated fats, it’s a very stable oil. It can, however, go bad, especially if you’ll scoop it from the container with a dirty spoon or fingers. Checking whether this oil is still fine to use is similar to checking other vegetable oils. The first thing to do is to analyze its looks – if there are any signs of mold on the surface of the oil, it’s probably better to discard the oil. Some people decide to scratch up the mold and an additional inch of the oil and use rest of it. If the surface isn’t very moldy and the oil is pretty much solid it’s pretty safe to do that, I guess. If the oil is liquid and you can notice any mold, I’d throw it away immediately. If it looks fine, smell it and taste if. If it hasn’t developed an off odor or strange taste, it’s fine and you can use it.

As you can see, coconut oil does go bad, but it has a pretty long shelf life and it’s easy to store it well and extend its shelf life a little.