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Coconut oil is more popular than ever. Beloved for its versatility and health benefits, this tropical oil makes a great addition to both sweet and savory dishes. But there is a catch to cooking with coconut oil: it remains solid at room temperature.
This one characteristic can be inconvenient, especially in the cold winter months when it hardens like a rock. Its saving grace is that coconut oil liquefies at 76 degree Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius) which means it melts quickly once it hits a hot pan.
If you find cooking with coconut oil a bit tricky check out these three essential tips that'll make the task easier:
Keep A Jar of Coconut Oil on or Near a Stove
By storing your coconut oil near a heat source it’ll remain softer and easier to scoop. This is great during the winter months when coconut oil is especially hard and hacking it can be annoying (and dangerous). Not only will the oil be within arms reach but will also melt in a cinch once you add it to a pot or pan.
Store It in Cubes
Another great option is to melt coconut and pour it into an ice cube tray. Just refrigerate until hardened and you’ll have pre-portioned coconut oil available when needed. Stash the cubes in a sealed container and, depending on the temperature in your home, you can choose to keep them at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
image via Vegan Baking/Flickr
Choose The Right Kind
Although the taste and aroma of coconut is pleasant it may not work in all recipes. This is when it's ideal to skip the raw variety and go for the expeller-pressed coconut oil, which is more refined and has a more delicate flavor. Both varieties are interchangeable and can be used and stored as described above. Choose organic when possible.
Still hungry after cooking with coconut oil? Give these coconut-inspired recipes a try.