Virgin versus RBD

Virgin versus RBD......

coconut tree

The species of palm tree that produces coconut oil is different from the one that produces palm or palm kernel oil.

The botanical name for the coconut palm is Cocos nucifera and it’s a member of the Family Arecaceae.

The botanical name for the tree producing palm oil is Elaeis guineensis. Palm oil is naturally reddish because it contains a high amount of beta-carotene, although boiling it destroys the carotenoids and renders it colorless. Palm oil is high in saturated fats just as coconut is. Therefore, it’s semi-solid at room temperature.

Because of the high oil content of coconut oil (33 percent), extracting the oil is a rather simple process and has been the major source of vegetable oil for people in the tropics for thousands of years.

The traditional method of extracting the oil is by boiling and/or fermentation of fresh or dried coconut. By the boiling method, the oil separates from the meat and floats to the surface. Oil and water separate naturally in the fermentation method.

Coconut oil is generally divided into two broad categories: RBD, or refined, bleached, and deodorized, and virgin. The difference between the two is the amount of processing the oil is subjected to. The term virgin indicates that it has been subjected to less intense refining, using lower temperatures and no chemicals.

RBD - refined, bleached, & deodorized

The RBD oil is usually made from the dried sections of the meaty inner lining of the coconut palm. This is known as copra. It can be made by drying it in the sun, heating it in a kiln, or smoking it. The oil is removed by mechanical or chemical means (solvents). High temperatures are used.

RBD oil is normally colorless, tasteless, and odorless.

Virgin Oil

Nearly all virgin oils are made from fresh coconuts. The oil is removed by boiling, centrifuge, fermentation, mechanical press or refrigeration. High temperatures and solvents aren’t used. Because of this the oil retains its phyto or plant chemicals. It therefore has a coconut taste and smell.

Some people don't like the taste of coconut oil in all of their foods. Personally I like the taste and sometimes I don't taste the oil though others can. If you want to supplement coconut oil in your diet you may want to buy coconut capsules which are a gelatin capsules containing the oil.

Cochin Oils

There are some oils that are made from sun-dried copra rather than fresh coconut and may be labeled "virgin". These are called cochin oils. They have undergone less processing than most RBD oils. This doesn't mean that they are more natural than copra oil. They are actually of a lesser or inferior quality.

Cochin, India is a place where cheap copra oil is popular. This is how the term "cochin" is derived. These oils have a strong smell and taste. They are slightly discolored. It's common for copra to become moldy when coconut is dried in the open air. The mold is considered harmless because of the sterilization process. This however gives the copra a yellowish or gray color because of the mold. Cochin oil has a fairly short shelf life of about six months.

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