I’m cuckoo for coconut oil!

I’m a big fan of coconut oil, and have been for years. I was able to see past its label as an unhealthy saturated fat, do a lot of reading, and satisfy myself that it was indeed a healthy food (in moderation, naturally, as it is a fat and thus a calorie-dense food).

Well, the tide of nutritional opinion has slowly been turning, and what was once “fringe” food among health-food-store groupies and athletes is not now earning some serious scientific cred. By way of evidence, I offer up this week’s New York Times article here.

I first turned to coconut oil when I was going through a non-dairy phase, but it remained a part of my pantry because it is really a lovely addition to many foods. Some brands really smell coconutty (which I like but others don’t), but other brands are more neutral. Other than it’s flavor and scent, I like it because it is stable at higher heats than olive oil. (I avoid using olive oil at anything above very moderate temperatures, unless I also mix in a little butter. Saturated fats are more stable at higher temperatures, and oddly, when you use butter and olive oil, the butter’s sat fats help stabilize the olive oil’s monounsaturated fats.)

Last week, I made a batch of homemade granola for the first time in a loooong time. I usually use olive oil in my granola. (I don’t care for canola oil, and I swear that I use olive oil as a liquid fat in baking all the time, and the result does not taste like olives.) This time, I melted some coconut oil (which is solid at lower room temps, but does liquefy in summer’s hotter temps) and used that, instead. Magnifique!

For a few examples of what you can do with this tasty, healthy oil, check out Tara Parker-Pope’s column on “Cooking With Coconut Oil,” also in this week’s NY Times.