Indigenous peoples of many areas still process coconut oil in a traditional way, a process in which the coconut meat is shredded and fermented. The result is heated slightly and the oil is skimmed from the vat by hand, then heated again to drive off the last of the water. This yields a good-quality oil with only a moderate loss of flavour.
In a slightly more modern method, the shredded coconut meat is force-dried on huge heated griddles while it is hand-stirred, then the dried meat is "cold-pressed", which allows the indigenous people to meet the goals of processing at fairly low temperatures and cost but with increased extraction speed. This oil is also heated to drive off the last of the water, but even so, it yields a light, flavourful oil.
Both of the above processes are conducted primarily by hand in rustic dirt-floored, open-air shelters on family farms. Though the tropical traditions may not measure up to modern hygiene standards, coconut oil is germicidal so the buyer can rest assured that even contaminated oil is unlikely to harbour live organisms.
The more discerning clientele may be attracted to coconut oil produced by "wet milling" and "cold extraction" in a process that combines Science
and technology to preserve the best attributes of natural coconut oil without the problems associated with backyard-manual processes. Unlike manual methods of making natural coconut oil, the entire process is done under hygienic conditions and a strict quality assurance system.
The fresh coconuts are opened within 48 hours of picking. The coconuts are shelled and drained, then the meat is chopped and placed in a expeller press. The resulting liquid is a filtered coconut milk emulsion, which is chilled slightly to 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) so that the oil will pull out of solution and solidify. Finally, using a large centrifuge, the emulsion has the water "spun" out of the oil. This is the only method of extraction that requires no heat at all.
The virgin coconut oil produced is the least refined coconut oil on the market; it is lighter and most people think it's better tasting. The whole process takes less than three hours; the result is a very light oil of unparallelled purity.
For the Science
on coconut oil, including on candida, germ killing, and bowel inflammation, see my website.