Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconut harvested from the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera).
Because of its stability it isslow to oxidize and thus resistant to rancidity, lasting up to two years due to high saturated fat content. In the wet process, coconut milk is made first and then the oil isextracted from the milk. Coconut kernel is shredded, mixed with a little water,and then squeezed or pressed to extract the oil. The resulting oil/water mixture produces coconut cream or coconut milk depending on the percentage of oil.
The coconut milk is then allowed to separate naturally. Since oil is lighter than water, the oil rises to the surface. This takes 12 to 24 hours.The oil can then be skimmed off. This is the traditional method of making coconut oil from coconut milk and is the way many people make the oil at home. Fractionated coconut oil is a fraction of the whole oil, in which the long-chain fatty acids are removed so that only medium chain saturated fatty acids remain. Lauric acid, a 12 carbon chain fatty acid, is often removed as well because of its high value for industrial and medical purposes.
It has various applications in food, medicine, and industry. Throughout the tropical world it has provided the primary source of fat in the diets of millions of people for generations. Coconut oil is very heat stable so it makes an excellent cooking and frying oil.It has a smoke point of about 360