Whether summer or winter, coconut oil is an all-season product in every home. Coconut oil is a versatile condiment that is used in several DIYs.
Due to its various purposes, coconut oil is usually bought in large quantities.
So, Does coconut oil go bad?
Yes. Coconut oil can go bad despite having a long shelf-life. Virgin coconut oil can easily go for 5 years without going bad while refined coconut oil has a shelf life of 18 months. However, you can extend the shelf life of coconut oil by storing it in a cool place. You can also use an air-tight container to prolong its shelf life. The oil container comes with a best-by date.
Want to know more about storing, shelving, and spoilage signs for coconut oil?
Read along to know all about it.
Does Coconut Oil Go Bad?
Yes. Coconut oil can go bad for several reasons. The most common reason coconut oil goes bad is storing it too long. Leaving the oil exposed for a long time makes it smell sour. It can also go bad if you store the oil in poor conditions.
You can identify a bad coconut oil because it goes rancid and tastes bitter. Consuming bad coconut won’t make you sick immediately. Eating it regularly can also have a negative impact.
How to Store Coconut Oil Properly?
Coconut oil can easily survive at room temperature. You can either store it in a kitchen cupboard or put the oil in the pantry. Refrigerating the oil is also an option if you want to store the oil for the long term.
Also Read: How Long Do Dates Last?
Before refrigerating the oil, ensure it is sealed tightly in a glass jar. While storing the oil, you must also ensure the temperature is fairly stable. The oil must also be kept away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
The best way to store the oil is in a glass container. A few quick tips to make the oil last longer include:
- After you scoop out the required amount of oil, reseal the cap.
- Always use clean spatulas/spoons to scoop out the oil. Avoid double-dipping into the container.
- Make sure you don’t use a mold-contaminated spoon in the container. This will speed up the process of spoiling the entire jar.
- Want the oil to be in liquid form? Keep the container somewhere warm, and place it near the stove or water heater.
- Keep the container in the pantry or kitchen cupboard for an intermediate consistency.
- Want coconut oil to be frozen? Keep the container well-sealed in the fridge.
- To use the solid coconut oil, melt it by letting it sit in a warm bath. Once the oil melts, scoop out as per your requirement. Place the bowl back in the refrigerator.
Can We Freeze Coconut Oil?
Yes. You can extend the shelf life of coconut oil to several years by freezing it and reap several benefits. When you freeze the oil, you cut off bacteria growth and chances of contamination. However, freezing is not a necessity when it comes to coconut oil.This means that it can last for a long time when kept at room temperature.
To freeze the oil, put the oil container in the freezer. To use the now-frozen oil, let it sit near a stove or place it in warm water. This will thaw the frozen oil and will make it easy to use.
Does Coconut Oil Expire? Can we eat Expired coconut oil?
Yes. Coconut oil can be consumed even after the best-by date has passed. It is a shelf-stable condiment, i.e., it can last for a long time at room temperature. This also means it is highly unlikely that the oil will go bad.
Also, coconut oil does not expire. Sure, it comes with a best-by date. But the date is a tentative period labeled by the manufacturers. The date indicates the peak period of the coconut oil. Which means it can still be consumed after the best-by date has passed.
But if you see mold breathing inside the oil, do not consume it. The oil is probably bad and needs to be tossed away.
Risks Associated With Consuming Bad Coconut Oil
It can grow molds or taste rancid. And if you consume rancid coconut oil, you might get sick.
You can get food poisoning if you consume a large quantity of bad coconut oil. Common symptoms of food poisoning can include regular vomiting and diarrhea. This can also lead to dehydration, so you must drink plenty of water. Constant abdominal pain and weakness are also telltale signs of food poisoning. If the symptoms reoccur, throw away the rancid coconut oil and visit a doctor.
Besides food poisoning, bad coconut oil is also a carrier of carcinogens. These are substances that can cause cancer. Rancid coconut oil also has harmful free radicals. These radicals are responsible for causing pain and damage to arteries and DNA cells. Therefore, it si better to avoid consuming rancid coconut oil.
How to Tell if Coconut Oil Is Bad?
Coconut oil takes a long time to go bad, and you can easily spot it when it does. A bad coconut oil begins to change both in color and smell. The taste also alters if the oil goes bad.
Read further to look at the signs of spoilage:
1. Its color has changed
Pure coconut oil is transparent, whereas solid oil is white. If your oil displays any color other than white, like yellow or brown, get rid of it.
2. It smells rancid
A virgin (unrefined) coconut oil has a coco-nutty aroma. But if the oil (refined) is solid, it will not have any smell. Refined coconut oil is also the one used mostly in cooking. So, the oil is rancid if your coconut oil smells bitter or has a chemical smell. Once the oil loses its nutty smell, throw it away.
3. It tastes bitter or sharp
In contrast to unrefined coconut oil, refined coconut oil may have a more robust coconut flavor. So, if the coconut oil tastes sour or rancid, it’s no good. Make sure it’s thrown away, and a new one is bought.
4. It has black spots or any other organic growth
The presence of mold or fat can identify rancid coconut oil. You can find mold or fat particles on the surface or floating inside the oil. Once you spot molds, the oil becomes inedible and must be thrown away.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. How long does coconut oil last once opened?
Ans. Coconut oil is a shelf-stable condiment that can last a long time at room temperature. As per the dates mentioned, an open bottle will last about 3-4 months after it is opened. But if you store the oil properly, it can last a long time. If the best-by date has passed or the product has been open for a long time, it will work fine.
Q2. What does coconut oil smell like when it goes bad?
Ans. Coconut oil that has gone rancid will have a bitter or sour smell. The smell also depends on how long the product is stored. The more time has passed, the more bitter and sour it will smell.
Q3. Does coconut oil go bad if not refrigerated?
Ans. Coconut oil is a shelf-stable condiment. This means it can survive well without being refrigerated. Instead, you can store the oil in the pantry to get the oil in a solid state.
Q4. Can I use expired oil on my skin?
Ans. Essential oils are different from refined consumable oils. Although they change over time, they don’t go bad like edible condiments. However, if the essential oil starts to smell different (in a bad way), cease the use.
The Bottom Line
Coconut oil is a versatile ingredient that you incorporate into several recipes and DIYs. With versatility comes great risk, i.e., the more the product is used, the more we tend to buy it. This can also lead to spoilage of the product when kept for long periods. To make the coconut oil last longer, you must store it in an air-tight container. Make sure to seal the cap properly after every use.
When scooping out the oil, only use a clean and dry spatula. If you think the oil smells rancid, throw it away. If you consume rancid oil, don’t make an appointment with the doctor!