Making Virgin Coconut Oil

virgin coconuts oil Technically speaking, Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) is seeds oil extracted from coconut kernels (species: Cocos nucifera) by such process under temperature below 60º Celsius (140º F) without further Refine, Bleach and Deodorize (RBD) process.

Anybody can make VCO, the key success factor is to keep temperature below 60º Celsius during entire process. If the temperature is too high, you could end up making Cooking Oil instead of VCO. In general, there are two methods of making VCO: Wet Method and Dry Method.

making VCO Wet Method

Wet Method

This is a simple technique in making VCO and it can be done at home by using regular available utensils in the kitchen. Process steps are as follows:
- Make coconut milk from fresh coconut meat and water
- Separate oil from coconut milk either by fermentation or slow and low heating process or using centrifugal machine
- Collect oil carefully so it won't be mixed with water
You can find plenty tutorial videos on Youtube on how to make VCO by using this wet method.

Advantages of Wet Method:
- Simple and easy way to make VCO
- Low energy costs

Disadvantages of Wet Method:
- VCO still has high moisture since the oil is not perfectly separated from water. So VCO should be consumed immediately, otherwise it will become rancid in a few days. Remember, water is the arch-enemy of VCO
- Too much water is wasted in the process. For 1 liter of VCO yield, it will consume 20 liters of water. For large production scale, it will cause major issue on waste water disposal, especially because the smell of waste water from this process is very unpleasant.

making VCO Dry Method

Dry Method

Dry method requires special machineries and equipment, so it's suitable for large production scale. Process steps are as follows:
- Fresh coconut meat must be dried in oven drier until the moisture content below 5%. Oven temperature must be kept below 60º Celsius all the time
- Oil is extracted from grated dry coconut meat either by low pressure (hydrolic press) or high pressure (screw press) expeller machine. For high pressure process, the machine must have built-in cooling system to avoid high temperature
- Oil collected from expeller has very high foots and cloudy, so it must go to further filtration process to make it crystal clear.

Advantages of Dry Method:
- It produces high quality VCO with very low moisture content (below 0.2%), so it has long shelf live.
- Suitable for large scale production.
- Higher VCO recovery comparing to wet method
- No water wasted during the process

Disadvantages of Dry Method:
- It requires high investement for machineries and equipment
- Very long processes from drying coconut to filtering the oil.
- High energy consumption.