Is Coconut Extract the Same as Coconut Oil?

Standing in the aisle confused whether coconut extract is the same as coconut oil or not? Worry not, as we are here to help.

Coconut extract and coconut oil are both extracted from the same plant, i.e., coconut. Now we come to the question!

Is Coconut Extract the Same as Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is not the same as coconut extract. Coconut oil is obtained by pressing fresh or dried coconut meat (copra). On the other hand, coconut extract is a kind of flavoring and is used in minute quantities to add fragrance.

Let’s take a detailed look at coconut oil and coconut extract features, their uses, advantages, and disadvantages for a better explanation.

What Is Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is extracted from pressed coconut meat, called copra. The meat can either be fresh or dried. 

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Depending upon the type of coconut meat, coconut oil can be of two types:

  • Virgin coconut oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat.
  • Refined coconut oil is extracted from dried copra.

Coconut oil majorly contains saturated fatty acids along with traces of vitamins, minerals, and plant sterols.

Free of cholesterol and dietary fibers, coconut oil is used for a variety of purposes.

Extraction of Coconut Oil

Industrially, coconut oil can be extracted in the following ways:

Dry Press

The fresh meat is first dried using a little heat and then pressed through a machine to extract oil.

Wet Press

The fresh meat is pressed using a machine to extract oil and milk. Oil is then separated from milk through centrifugation or enzymes.

Uses of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can be used for several different purposes, such as:

  • It can be used as cooking oil and can be added to curries and sauces.
  • Coconut oil is used in a variety of desserts.
  • A number of cosmetic companies use coconut oil as an ingredient in their products.
  • Coconut oil is wonderful when it comes to skincare. It rejuvenates your skin and hydrates it from within.
  • Coconut oil is also good for the health and well-being of the human body.
  • Coconut oil is used as hair oil, as it nourishes the hair and gives them shine.

Adverse Effects of Coconut Oil

The sudden increase in the use of coconut oil sparked a few controversies. According to research, excess coconut oil can lead to:

  • Due to 80-90% saturated fats, coconut oil is not deemed beneficial to cardiac health.
  • Over-consumption of coconut oil can cause gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea.
  • Partial hydrogenation, which is done to increase the shelf life of coconut oil, results in the production of trans fat, which is not beneficial for the body.

Recommended further reading:

How to Extract Coconut Oil at Home

If you want to make coconut oil in the comfort of your kitchen, you can easily do so by the following steps:

  • Take 7 to 8 fully ripped coconuts.
  • Pour coconut water into a separate bowl.
  • Remove the flesh with a sharp knife.
  • Finely grate the coconut meat.
  • Add coconut water to grated coconut flesh.
  • Blend the mixture using a blender until a thick paste is formed.
  • Strain the thick paste to separate all the liquid. This white liquid is coconut milk.
  • Put the milk in a pan and heat it.
  • You will notice that a cream sets to the bottom, and coconut oil starts appearing at the surface.
  • Once the oil is completely separated, you can pour it out.
  • Almost 500ml of coconut oil can be obtained from this recipe.

What is Coconut Extract?

Coconut extract is a concentrated flavoring that is distilled from the flesh of a coconut.

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It can be prepared from both fresh coconut meat as well as toasted copra.

The extract is used in minute quantities in desserts and baked items to give a coconut-ty flavor.

Uses of Coconut Extract

Coconut extract, like vanilla extract, is a flavoring and can be used for a number of purposes:

  • To add a hint of coconut to your desserts, e.g., icecreams. 
  • For flavoring tropical drinks such as Pina Coladas.
  • It is a humectant and retains water. Therefore, it hydrates your skin.
  • Coconut extract is added to moisturizers as it softens the skin.
  • It balances skin pH, minimizing the risk of skin issues such as acne.
  • Products with coconut oil and coconut extract in them can act as anti-aging agents.

How To Prepare Coconut Extract Yourself

If you don’t have coconut extract or have run out of it, don’t worry. You can easily prepare coconut extract at home.

All you need is a coconut and some alcohol. To make coconut extract out of it, follow the steps given below:

  • Take a coconut and flesh it out.
  • Shred the coconut meat 
  • Infuse the shredded coconut flesh into alcohol
  • Store it in an airtight container and keep it in a cool, dry, and dark place
  • Let it sit for 4-6 weeks until the desired strength is achieved.
  • Make sure to shake it every now and then.

Interested further reading:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use coconut extract in place of coconut oil?

No. Coconut oil adds fat to your recipe, whereas coconut extract is just a flavor and is used in minute quantities.

What happens if I use too much coconut extract?

Too much coconut extract can mess with the flavor of your dish. It may add a very strong fragrance and leave a chemical aftertaste.

For how long can I store my coconut extract?

Homemade extracts can be stored for quite a long period of time if stored in a cool and dry place.

Can I use vodka to make coconut extract?

Yes. Plain vodka can be used to prepare coconut extract. You can also use rum, but make sure it is not flavored.

Can I alternate coconut oil for butter in a recipe?

When replacing coconut oil with butter, make sure to use 25% less amount than that mentioned in the recipe.

What is the difference between coconut essence and coconut extract?

Coconut essence is synthetic, whereas coconut extract is natural. However, the purpose of both is more or less similar.

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