Coconut oil is one of the vegetable oils and it has all kinds of uses. It’s very popular in tropics, where it’s often used as a source of fat. If you use coconut oil on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to know a thing or two about how it should be stored, how long does it last or how you can tell if it’s bad.
How long does coconut oil last?
Every bottle of coconut oil should have a visible “Use By” or “Best By” date, which indicates how long the oil should offer best quality. When it comes to coconut oil, that expiration date is pretty tricky – manufacturers place different dates on their products. It might be one year, two years or even four years, it depends. Because of that, you can safely assume that every coconut oil lasts at least a year, but a few years is the most common scenario. Here’s a rule of thumb: as long as you can’t notice your coconut oil is bad, it’s fine. There is an exception from this rule: if your coconut oil is stored in your cupboard for more than 8 years, throw it out!
If you’ve wondered how one should store coconut oil to make it last as long as possible, there are a few things you need to know. First thing you should know is that coconut oil can be stored as liquid or solid, it’s up to you. It has a melting point of about 75 F (24 C), so if the temperature in the room where you keep it is higher than that, it’ll be liquid. If the temperature is below the melting point, the oil will be solid. If you’ll decide to keep your coconut oil in the fridge, scooping some oil out of the bottle will be pretty difficult and it’ll take some time and effort, remember that.
Image used under Creative Commons from Cara Faus
When it comes to storing coconut oil, remember that light, oxygen and heat cause quicker deterioration of that oil. Therefore, you should always keep it tightly closed with its original cap, in a cupboard and in a place where temperature is pretty steady all the time. The pantry seems to be a good place to store coconut oil.
Does coconut oil spoil? How to tell if coconut oil is bad?
Coconut oil does spoil. As I’ve mentioned earlier, it has a pretty long shelf life, but if you won’t store it properly, or you’ll let some contaminants get into the bottle (e.g. while scooping the oil with dirty cutlery) it will spoil. In the second case, your coconut oil might go bad pretty quickly. If you’ll follow all the outlined rules, the oil will stay fine for a long time, but it’ll go bad eventually.
If you’re not sure how long your bottle of coconut oil has been stored, there are a few things you should check to get to know whether the oil is still fine. First thing you should do is to look at the surface of the oil – if you can spot any signs of mold, it’s better to discard the oil. If the oil is in solid form, you might decide to scoop all the mold and some additional oil and keep the rest of it. If you can spot a contaminant that seems harmless, scoop it with a spoon. Now you can check out how does it smell and taste, if it has developed an off odor or strange taste, throw it away.
So, you should know by now that the answer to the main question “can coconut oil go bad?” is affirmative. Coconut oil does go bad, and if it’s stored improperly, or it gets contaminated, it might spoil pretty fast. If it’s stored for a very long time (more than 6 years), you can assume it’s expired and discard it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.