Coconut Oil Hygiene: Get the Most from Your Jar
From baking cakes or roasting your favourite chicken to DIY face scrubs and even whizzing in your morning coffee, there’s little our beloved jars of Lucy Bee Coconut Oil can’t do.
Once you’ve got your jar safely in your hands, we know how exciting it is to get started using your oil. Once it’s stashed away in your cupboards, what’s the best way to keep your Lucy Bee and ensure it stays in tip-top condition?
More and more, people are asking us how to use our oil in the most hygienic way possible, so we thought we’d pull together a handy guide! To make the most of your beloved coconut oil, here are our tips on keeping your jars as clean and as healthy as possible…
What’s the Best Way to Use It Hygienically?
While your coconut oil may have a long shelf life, this refers to the unopened jar. Once opened, you need to practice sensible food hygiene, as you would with all foods! One of the things which can send the shelf life of your Lucy Bee plummeting is contamination, for example from food and crumbs.
Since we can use coconut oil for so many things, it’s important to make sure the oil is kept clean and moisture free.
We can’t stress this enough – please clean those spoons, or avoid dropping in any crumbs or water when you’re using your Lucy Bee Coconut Oil!
We promise that there’s good reason for this and we’re not just being clean freaks! You see, while our Lucy Bee is perfectly stable, these crumbs or small bits of food aren’t, and they’re prone to fermentation. This can lead to mould growth and cross-contamination.
In the same way, if you’re using your coconut oil in the bathroom (lovers of our latest book Natural Beauty with Coconut Oil will know that it doubles up to make the perfect body scrubs and face masks), then it’s important that you avoid getting any moisture into the jars. Introducing water and bacteria into a dark and warm place is never a good thing and can lead to all sorts of nasties and mould issues down the line, even though the coconut oil itself is antimicrobial.
What’s the Best Way to Store Your Coconut Oil?
For lots of jarred foods like jams or pickles, once you’ve prized open the lid and dived right in, you’ll store any leftovers in the fridge to keep things as fresh as possible, However, with coconut oil, you don’t need to worry – and, in fact, keeping it in the fridge can make it rock solid and more difficult to get out.
Even once the jar has been opened, you can happily store your Lucy Bee Coconut Oil at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, without worrying that it’s going to go off – providing you follow our tips above for general hygiene.
In fact, if you think about it, in the tropical climates of the Philippines, Sri Lanka or Solomon Islands where our oil is made, many people don’t even have access to a fridge!
You see, one of the best things about coconut oil is that it’s perfectly stable. Since it doesn’t oxidise and is packed with antimicrobial properties, it’s pretty safe to store away from the fridge and out of direct sunlight.
At What Temperature Does It Melt?
It doesn’t need to be a scorching hot day to see your coconut oil melt.
When things are heating up (think above 24C) you’ll see our oil turn to liquid, while anything cooler than that (hello typical British weather!) will mean it’s stored as a solid.
However, if you find your coconut oil melting and hardening over and over again, don’t worry. It doesn’t affect your coconut oil’s quality in any way – transitioning between a solid and liquid state doesn’t change the way it tastes, nor will it shorten shelf life.
How Long Will It Last?
Each of our jars has a “Best Before Date” on the lid, which should give you a rough idea of how long your Lucy Bee will last – if used properly!
Each of our best before dates are labelled two years from bottling. However, the second you open that precious jar, the oil can be contaminated if you don’t follow the hygiene tips mentioned earlier. Because of this, if you really want to make the most of your Lucy Bee and get plenty of usage, then you’ll need to make sure you keep it clean and dry!
However, if you’re using your coconut oil properly, then there’s no reason why it shouldn’t last for a long, old time.
The thing is, coconut oil is pretty unique and its long shelf life lies behind its molecular structure.
You see, Lucy Bee Coconut Oil is mainly made up of saturated fats, which are medium-chain fatty acids and don’t have double bonds between carbon atoms. While that might sound pretty complicated, hear us out – that’s as scientific as we’ll get!
These chains found in our oil are special because they’re shorter in length when compared to those found in saturated fats in dairy and meat, plus coconut oil is predominantly made up of lauric acid (about 48%), which has antifungal properties. Meanwhile, other oils often have high amounts of of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which have double bonds (double bonds are highly-susceptible to heat damage) and are broken down faster than saturated fats.
What Should It Look Like?
Since our oils are as natural and as unrefined as they come, chances are your oil won’t look uniform, though the quality remains the same in each jar – organic, raw and unrefined.
Why is this? Well, as we bottle up our oil, we have to gently warm it up (very, very gently so that it stays raw!). However, as it solidifies, they all “set” differently – some will look smooth and glossy, while others will have what looks like marbling (known to us coconut oil geeks as pearling). Thanks to some clever physics, as the oil solidifies, some will even look like they have a hole in them.
However, don’t fret! Each of these is completely normal and your coconut oil will taste just the same. Plus, when filling each jar, the amount is set to just over what’s stated on the label so you can rest assured that you won’t be short on Lucy Bee!
Our Top Tips
Want to know how to make the most of that jar? Here are a few tips on how to use your oil hygienically:
- Always use clean utensils to scoop out the oil when you’re cooking to prevent dirt and food contamination. If you’re lucky and it’s sunny outside, then you can save on washing up and simply pour the oil straight from the jar.
- Don’t place wet utensils into the jar and avoid sticking in any wet or damp fingers, too. Moisture getting into your jars can lead to all sorts of bacteria lurking within.
- Try to avoid using your hands to scoop the oil out! Hands tend to be high in moisture and can contain bacteria, too.
- Never double dip! Once you’ve used a utensil, make sure that you then wash and dry before using again, or grab a different one before you dive back in for more Lucy Bee.
- Keep your jars tightly sealed when you’re not using them.
- Avoid placing your jars in direct sunlight and store in a cool, dry place wherever you can.
We hope that’s helped! If you have any questions or need a helping hand, then don’t hesitate to contact us on social media or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we always love a chat!
About Lucy Bee Limited
Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and eating close to nature with additive free products for health.
Members of the Lucy Bee team are not medically trained and can only offer their best advice. Any information provided by us is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.
Please note you should always refer your health queries to a qualified medical practitioner.