Coconut oil, or copra oil, is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). It has various applications. Because of its high saturated fat content, it is slow to oxidize and, thus, resistant to rancidification, lasting up to six months at 24 °C (75 °F) without spoiling.
Coconut oil can be extracted through dry or wet processing. Dry processing requires that the meat be extracted from the shell and dried using fire, sunlight, or kilns to create copra. The copra is pressed or dissolved with solvents, producing the coconut oil and a high-protein, high-fiber mash. The all-wet process uses coconut milk extracted from raw coconut rather than dried copra. The proteins in coconut milk create an emulsion of oil and water.
Refined, bleached, and deodorized (RBD) oil is usually made from copra, dried coconut kernel, which is pressed in a heated hydraulic press to extract the oil. This yields practically all the oil present, amounting to more than 60% of the dry weight of the coconut. This crude coconut oil is not suitable for consumption because it contains contaminants and must be refined with further heating and filtering. Another method for extraction of coconut oil involves the enzymatic action of alpha-amylase, polygalacturonases, and proteases on diluted coconut paste. Unlike virgin coconut oil, refined coconut oil has no coconut taste or aroma. RBD oil is used for home cooking, commercial food processing, and cosmetic, industrial, and pharmaceutical purposes.