Expeller pressed vs cold pressed coconut oil
I have a jar of Whole Foods brand organic virgin coconut oil. Upon closer inspection, the ingredients portion of the label says that it is expeller pressed. Is it better to go with cold pressed coconut oil? Does the expeller pressed mean that it is not really virgin?
I didn't know there was any reason to differentiate, so I checked it on dogpile. The article is pasted below.
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What is Expeller Pressing?
Expeller pressing is a chemical-free mechanical process that extracts oil from seeds and nuts. This method of oil extraction is an alternative to the hexane-extraction method used for many conventional oils. The temperature reached during pressing depends on the hardness of the nut or seed. The harder the nut or seed, the more pressure required to extract the oil, which in turn creates more friction and higher heat. There is no external heat applied during the expeller pressing
Why Cold Press?
Delicate oils, or those in which flavor nuances are a key component, need to be treated with greater care in controlling processing factors. Oils that are cold pressed are expeller pressed in a heat-controlled environment to keep temperatures below 120 degrees F.
It's important to note that, while Europe has rigorous standards in place for the terminology of cold pressing (fully unrefined oil extracted at temperatures below 122 degrees F), the phrase 'cold pressed' has been used erroneously in the U.S. for a number of years, often employed as a marketing technique for oils which have been expeller pressed or even refined (which exposes the oil to temperatures of up to 470 degrees F).
Coconut oil is very resistant to heat ... if you care more about the nutritional value than about the flavor, then expeller pressed oil should be perfectly acceptable.
The expeller pressed oil is very delicious, so it is fine enough for me. I'm now interested in trying cold pressed to compare the flavor.
I don't understand all that I think I know. Happens a lot. Here goes.
Pure, organic, unrefined, expeller pressed coconut oil is GOOD. No processing chemicals used in extraction of the oil. No heat is used in expeller pressing. Smoke point is low---about 170 degrees F.--just a bit higher than butter and a bit lower than olive oil. Not suitable for high temperature cooking and the labels on the jars state that this is for medium heat only.
Refined coconut oil is extracted chemically and often under high heat. Often, especially in the US where laws are odd sometimes, this is called cold pressed oil. (European coconut oil labels saying cold pressed are referring to unrefined expeller pressed oils.) This oil (the refined type) is not the purest possible for coconut oil and carries traces of the chemicals used in extraction. It is capable of very high heat cooking because of a smoke point close to 300 degrees F.
Now, please enlighten me. What am I getting wrong?
Where did you hear that refined is the same thing as cold-pressed? I don't think that is correct.
Check out this FAQ page from Tropical Traditions. Probably more info about coconut oil than you ever wanted to know:
dragonmamma: thanks for responding to my query for aid. I am familiar with the tropicaltraditions web site. I had read that when I was looking over a lot of coconut oil information. I learned quite a bit there. Again thanks. The thing to remember though is that it is not a scientific paper, but an advertisement blurb. That doesn't say it is bad information, but it does lead to some consideration.
I did not claim that refined coco oil is the same as cold pressed. The statement was that due to lax or indifferent US laws about what is organic, free range, cage free, and other terms like that, sometimes unscrupulous companies will claim that their oil is cold pressed when it is actually more factual to call it refined. The companies that do this purportedly use oil extraction methods that require chemical treatment and act to hold down temperature during this treatment--hence cold pressed due to application of cooling rather than due to a lack of heating. Note, this is not applicable to everyone using the term 'cold pressed'. This is not a problem with European labeling.
My major question was (is) the cooking temperature acceptable when using coconut oil. I keep reading in this forum that high temperatures are good. When I read references to using the oil, I learn that the coconut oil acceptable for high temperatures is the processed oil. The unrefined coconut oil is not acceptable for high temperatures.
This leads to another question----Is it best not to use unrefined, cold pressed (real cold pressed), organic oil. Is this a case where possibly --even probably--adulterated oil is the better product.
Am I missing the whole picture?