Make us your home page
Instagram

Taste test: Coconut oil

Coconut oil in a jar.

iStockphoto.com

Coconut oil in a jar.

Just a few years ago, we had to visit specialty food stores to find coconut oil. This week, we bought 12 different varieties at local supermarkets. That's a clear sign coconut oil has become a welcome option in our kitchens. But we are always skeptical of a food item that can be used for everything from homemade candy to diaper cream. Our panelists have experienced frying foods with coconut oil as well as adding it to coffee as a creamer or to oatmeal for a buttery richness. Coconut oil is great for frying because it has a high smoke point and its quality doesn't break down during the process. And, though it may give the house a nice aroma, it often doesn't leave coconut flavor in the food. To find out which brand had the best flavor, we sampled the oils slathered on saltine crackers.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
The Fresh Market 81Spectrum 79Carrington Farms 73
Judges'

comments
Besides frying, judges decided this oil would be their pick for coconut muffins. "The silky appearance and texture would add brightness and fluffiness to muffins," said one panelist. "It's nutty with a very pleasant mouthfeel." Another judge described the oil as extra smooth and moist.Judges said Spectrum's coconut oil would be especially good in baked goods because it had a strong fruit and nut flavor. "I like the satin finish with the bright coconut fragrance," said one judge. All panelists said the taste was mild, but the oil left a lingering buttery flavor. "This would be good if you want bold coconut flavor in a cookie or cake," said another taster.This oil reminded one panelist of "mom's cold cream," but he said it tasted good enough to smear on toast, adding that "It has a mild and slight coconut flavor." It reminded one taster of oleo. "I like the slight sheen," said another. "It has very smooth texture with no lumps or graininess and a pleasing nutty flavor."
Would

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$7.99 for a 14-ounce jar.$7.84 for a 14-ounce jar from Walmart.$11.86 for a 12-ounce tub from Walmart.


Also Sampled: Betterbody Foods ($8.42 for a 28-ounce jar from Walmart, 57 points); Lou Ana ($3.98 for a 14-ounce jar from Walmart, 47 points); Publix Greenwise ($7.99 for a 14-ounce jar, 53 points); Tropical Life ($6.88 for a 29-ounce jar from Walmart, 63 points); Nutiva ($12.99 for a 14-ounce jar from the Fresh Market, 67 points); Dr. Bronner's ($8.99 for a 14-ounce jar from the Fresh Market, 38 points); Trader Joe's ($5.99 for a 16-ounce jar, 49 points); Crisco ($6.79 for a 27-ounce jar from Winn-Dixie, 67 points); and Publix ($3.99 for a 14-ounce jar, 45 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Cheryl Schaefer, chef and former restaurant owner; and Janet Keeler, assistant professor of journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and editorial director of Sundaysuppermovement.com. All oils were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to mstark@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.

Serving sizeOne tablespoonOne tablespoonOne tablespoon
Calories120120130
Fat/Fiber14g / 0g14g / 0g14g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium0g / 0mg0g / 0mg0g / 0mg
Carbs/Protein0g / 0g0g / 0g0g / 0g

Taste test: Coconut oil 03/14/16 [Last modified: Monday, March 14, 2016 10:18am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sept. 24

    Events

    Zac Brown Band: The country, folk and Southern rockers embark on the "Welcome Home" tour in support of the album. 7 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $27.50-$77.50. (813) 740-2446.

    Handout photo of the Zac Brown Band, performing at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on 9/24/17. Credit: Shore Fire Media
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sept. 23

    Events

    Smithsonian Museum Day Live: Museums across the nation partner with the Smithsonian to offer free admission for one day. Among them are Florida Holocaust Museum, Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs.Cracker Country in Tampa, Ringling Museum of Art. Note: Dalí Museum is free for Pinellas County …

    The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg is among the museums participating in the Smithsonian's Museum Day Live, offering free admission. (LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times)
  3. Tampa Repertory's 'Flying' soars in some places, sputters in others

    Stage

    TAMPA — Tampa Repertory Theatre has always insisted on putting on plays that mean something. Several shows over the last couple of years have zeroed in on the social and cultural baggage that comes with being female (The Children's Hour, Silent Sky and Grounded come to mind). None of those …

    The Southeastern premiere of Flying, Sheila Cowley's play at Tampa Repertory Theatre about veterans of the Women's Air Force Service Pilots, includes (from left) Holly Marie Weber, Rosemary Orlando, and Becca McCoy. Photo by Megan Lamasney.
  4. After 22 years, it's last call for beloved Ybor venue New World Brewery

    Music & Concerts

    YBOR CITY — Steve Bird spreads his tools across a patio table. He has awnings to unbolt and paraphernalia to unpry, from the busted Bop City neon by the stage to the Simpsons "El Duffo o Muerte" mural in the courtyard. He'll uproot a fountain and dismantle a roof and attempt to keep his bar intact. The …

    Various decor and memorabilia fill the walls and shelves at New World Brewery in Ybor City.
Long time music venue and hangout New World Brewery in Ybor City will be closing it's doors and moving locations. Patrons enjoy one of the last events before New World Brewery changes its location to Busch Blvd in Tampa.  [Photo Luis Santana | Times]