What is Virgin Coconut Oil And Extra Virgin
Define What Is Virgin Coconut Oil
What is Virgin Coconut Oil
What is Virgin Coconut Oil? To answer this question `What is Virgin Coconut Oil`, we will
likely ask other pertinent questions. The first question that comes to mind is probably `What is
the difference between Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) and Coconut Oil'. To really understand what
is virgin coconut oil, we need to address various aspects of virgin coconut oil before we can
come to grip with its definition. In this post, Virgin Coconut Oil Malaysia will discuss the issues
related to this question on what is virgin coconut oil.
Know What Is Virgin Coconut Oil
Though there is no universal definition for virgin coconut oil, it is generally agreed that virgin
coconut oil should be produced from freshly harvested coconut. So, the first characteristic of
virgin coconut oil is that VCO is made from fresh coconut meat. Normal coconut oil is made
from dried coconut meat known as copra.
One definition given by Kamariah et al can be found in their research paper entitled `Physico-
chemical and quality characteristics of virgin coconut oil - A Malaysian survey`, published in
the Journal of Tropical Agriculture and Food Science in 36(2)(2008). Kamariah and fellow
researchers define virgin coconut oil as `minimally processed product which has not undergone
any further processing such as refining, bleaching and deodorization.'
The above definition shouts freshness and minimal processing. Intensive processing will surely
molest the quality of the oil. Normal coconut oil is obtained from copra (dried coconut meat)
which must be processed before it is fit for consumption. The processes involved refining,
bleaching and deodorization. that's why it is also known as RBD coconut oil, where the letters
represent the respective processes. As a result, RBD coconut oil is not your choice of healthy
This gives us important clues as to what we should be looking for if we want to find the best
virgin coconut oil. We can simplify the definition into two aspects, the source and the processing.
The source will be the coconut, while the processing will be how we handle the coconut before
the oil is bottled or packaged.
Virgin Coconut Oil
Source of Virgin Coconut Oil
Let's talk a bit about the source, coconut. The raw material or coconut used to produce virgin
coconut oil will be the primary factor that determines the quality. Coconut belongs to the species
Cocos and is known as Cocos nucifera. If you have lived in an area where coconut trees are
grown, you probably notice there are different types of coconut trees. The differences are due to
different cultivars, some short, some tall, some more cold hardy, some more resistant to drought,
Processing of Virgin Coconut Oil
Assuming the coconuts are harvested, brought back to the lab or factory and ready for producing
virgin coconut oil, there are various factors which determine the quality of the final product. The
first factor has to be the freshness of the coconut. It is generally agreed that the oil needs to be
extracted as soon as possible. Most of the good quality virgin coconut oil products you find in
the market are extracted within 24 to 48 hours after the coconuts are plucked from the tree. That
means the processing plant has to be within a reasonable distance from the coconut plantation.
Next factors are the extraction methods. This is where each brand shouts their own specialty and
defends why their particular methods are used. Some will argue that heat will reduce the final
quality of the oil while others will debate against that. My understanding tells me this portion is
one of the most important determining criteria for the final virgin coconut oil. In order to provide
a deeper understanding of the quality of VCO, we have to have another article dedicated to this
topic. Please make sure you read this article when it is published.
As you can see from the above short and brief discussion, not all VCOs are created equal. We
really need to know how a particular VCO is produced in order to determine its quality for our
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil ?
The clarification of terminology used on virgin coconut oil deserves some attention. You may
come across the term extra virgin coconut oil on the internet and articles. The word `Extra' used
on VCO is adopted by the marketers rather than based on characteristics or quality of the
coconut oil. `Extra' has been used on olive oil as there are industry specifications for virgin olive
oil and extra virgin olive oil. But for VCO or coconut oil, the industry specifications or standards
are non-existent. While doing my research on VCO, I had the privilege to speak with one of the
pioneering researchers on VCO in Malaysia (name not revealed because I do not have his
consent). This researcher explained to me that many researchers have tested commercial
products and found no difference in normally labelled virgin coconut oil and those labelled as
`Extra' virgin coconut oil.
Thanks you for reading this post on `What is Virgin Coconut Oil`, do come back soon for other