Coconut Oil

coconut oil, edible oil extracted from the dried meat of the coconut, the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). Coconut oil is a yellowish white solid or semiliquid that melts at 23 °C (74 °F). Unlike most other oils obtained from plant or fish sources, coconut oil has only a low percentage of unsaturated fatty acids and is up to 90 percent saturated fat. It does not contain cholesterol.

Its many industrial uses include the manufacture of soaps and detergents, shampoos, synthetic rubber, and glycerin. After refining to remove free fatty acids and deodorizing, coconut oil is used in edible fats such as margarines and vegetable shortenings. An important food use of coconut oil arises from its high percentage of lauric acid (45–50 percent), which is saturated and so resists oxidation and rancidity. Confectioners and bakers use refined coconut oil in products that may stand for a time after manufacturing. The oil also has a high smoke point, which allows foods to be fried or sauteed at high heat.