The hype is all around: coconut oil for teeth, for hair, for aging spots, for dry spots and the list goes on. It’s not hard to find a use for coconut oil these days. We here at Schneider’s Gourmet World have been using coconut oil for our snacks and popcorn for over 25 years. I’m glad to say, that people have finally caught on.
Coconut oil is naturally white but as you can see, ours is orange. We mix our coconut oil with beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits, especially carrots and colorful vegetables.
The name beta-carotene comes from the Greek beta and Latin carota (carrot). It is the yellow/orange pigment that gives vegetables and fruits their rich colors. H. Wachenroder crystallized beta-carotene from carrot roots in 1831, and came up with the name “carotene”.
The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A (retinol) – beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision. That being said, beta-carotene in itself is not an essential nutrient, but vitamin A is.
One of the interesting things about beta-carotene is that since it is a natural product, it will cook out quickly at high temperatures over repeated usage. We always recommend recycling your coconut oil when using it to cook Kaktus Chips. When making Kaktus Chips, there always will be leftover oil. Drain that oil into a bowl and when your pot is empty, place the oil back into the pot for next time. The general recommendation for coconut oil when cooking Kaktus Chips is 4 tablespoons. After one batch, you will generally have 2 1/2 tablespoons of oil leftover. So you do the math as to how much you will need to add for the next yummy batch. Over time, here’s where you will notice the change in color:
The oil in the bowl is the recycled oil. You will notice how different it is from the oil in the container just above it. With each batch, the oil will become less and less orange (usually after three). That’s when you know you need to either dispose of the oil, or use it to make popcorn. We always use it to make popcorn and only rarely do we dispose of it so this practice will all depend on your preferences. Now, for this reason we do not recommend you place your recycled oil back into the original container. If you would prefer not keeping it in the pot, then find a jar that you could use for the used oil. But I think you will find that placing it back into the pot for next time is very convenient.
Now, people often ask me how long is the shelf life for coconut oil. The answer? 2 years. You can keep the oil in the refrigerator if you prefer, but it is not necessary, unless of course you use it so little that a container lasts you a very long time. One thing we have done to make using coconut oil more convenient is to use an ice cube tray to make pellets. Each ice cube is approximately 2 tbsp. depending on the size of your trays. So you would need 2 each time. Just heat the coconut oil so it is a liquid (on a hot day this happens all by itself). Then measure into the ice cube trays and let set. If you put them in the refrigerator, the pellets come out a bit easier and there is less sticking. I welcome your comments below. Happy Snacking!