About Coconut Oil
For some time now we’ve been diving deep into coconut oil—figuratively, that is—researching and comparing Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oils to better educate ourselves and our community. Two interesting revelations we’d like to share are:
About Virgin vs. Extra-Virgin
Unlike olive oil, which has specific guidelines for the use of the terms Virgin and Extra Virgin, these terms are interchangeable with coconut oil. All coconut oil goes through one (virgin) pressing. There are no distinguishing features between traditionally processed Virgin and Extra Virgin Coconut Oil; they are the same product. We call ours Extra Virgin to match the description our supplier uses.
About Raw vs. Unrefined
In the food trade, there are no definitive laws for products claiming ‘raw’ status, which inspires both creative interpretation and vigorous debate. (Raw in the industry simply means unpasteurized.) As the raw food movement gains momentum and as more consumers request detailed information on the growing methods and processing of food, we, alongside our customers, are learning more every day about these passionate topics.
Many raw food cookbooks and raw advocates use non-raw ingredients like dates, maple syrup, nutritional yeast, extra virgin coconut oil, and tamari. Foods commonly listed as raw are handled anywhere from 92°F to 120°F and far beyond. At Hummingbird we use the term raw for foods processed at or below 115°F.
Traditionally processed unrefined Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (EVCO) is sometimes referred to as raw in a similar way nuts are called raw when they are unroasted. It is a way to distinguish one product or process from another. Refined Coconut Oil undergoes high temperatures (i.e. over 400°F for deodorizing) that EVCO does not, therefore EVCO may be called raw as a kind of shorthand. The only methods of producing truly raw EVCO are through fermentation and by centrifuge.
Our suppliers of Organic EVCO referred to the oil as raw, and their flow charts affirmed this claim, so we called ours raw. Yet, our current research shows that tradition-ally processed unrefined EVCO goes through several procedures that can raise the heat of the white coconut meat above 115°F.
How our coconut oil is made
The organic coconuts used to make our Organic EVCO are grown in the Philippines by independent small scale farmers. Some but not all of the coconuts are Fair Trade since not all farmers can afford the cost of certification. These family farms contract to grow organic coconuts for processors who each have their own equipment and methods of extraction. Most of the processors use the traditional method for extracting the oil: fresh coconuts are shelled and pared, and the white meat is milled to fine shreds and oven dried at 160-200°F. This shredded coconut is physically pressed to extract the oil, then the oil is filtered and packaged. Once pressed no further heat is applied beyond 115°F.
Our EVCO is unrefined which means no solvents are used; the oil is not bleached or deodorized and does not go through a physical steam refining process.
Although we’d like to continue offering our 100% Organic EVCO as a raw product, from where we stand now, we just can’t get behind it. Since we don’t believe there is an industry standard with regard to calling traditionally processed EVCO raw, we’ve elected to uncheck the raw status of our 100% Organic EVCO on our price list.
We’d like to be clear that our 100% Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil has not changed. It’s the exact same product—the same delightful fragrance, the same delicious flavor. We’re just clarifying its raw status.
For customers who want truly raw coconut oil, we also offer Dua Dua centrifuged 100% Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil processed under 115°F. Our grower-processor says of this premium priced oil:
There are many ways to make Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, and every method produces a different taste. Our centrifuge extraction results in extremely fresh tasting oil. The whole process is below 113°F. And we have achieved a low water content so our oil is not rancid and has a shelf life of two years.
Also, our entire production process from cracking the coconut to the bottling of the oil takes less than 12 hours. We always finish every batch before closing in the evening; our oil is very fresh, not long exposed to air. Before the oil even knows it is out of the meat, it is in the bottle.
However it is processed, Organic EVCO is a treasure which offers multiple health benefits and all-around delectability. Enjoy!
For questions or to order by phone, call us: (541) 686-0921