The price of this “miracle cure” has soared and there is now a proliferation of commercial brands of virgin coconut oil in the market, with many of them unreliable so that people are asking if they can make their own supply.
Why not? Old folks show us the way. I met a kindly old lady, Mrs. Gloria Reyes of Candelaria (Quezon) who makes virgin coconut oil for her family’s use. She explained to me the process step by step.
• Get twenty (20) husked, healthy, and mature nuts. They should not show any sign of spoilage or germination. Shake each nut and listen to the distinct sound of its water splashing. If you can hear it, discard the particular nut.
• Split each nut with a bolo, gathering the water in the process. Discard any nut at the slightest sign of defect, such as those with cracked shell and oily water, discolored meat, presence of a developing endosperm (para). Rely on a keen sense of smell.
• With the use of an electric-driven grating machine, grate the only the white part of the meat. Do not include the dark outer layer of the meat.
• Squeeze the grated meat using muslin cloth or linen to separate the milk (gata) from the meal (sapal). Gather the milk in wide-mouth bottles (liter or gallon size).
• Cover the jars with dry linen and keep them undisturbed for 3 to 5 hours in a dry, dark and cool corner.
• Carefully remove the floating froth, then harvest the layer of oil and place it in a new glass jar. Discard the water at the bottom. It may be used as feed ingredient for chicken and animals.
• Repeat the operation three to four times, until the oil obtained is crystal clear. Now this is the final product – home made virgin coconut oil.
Virgin coconut oil is a product of cold process of oil extraction, as compared with the traditional method of using heat. In the latter coconut milk is brought to boiling, evaporating the water content in the process, and obtaining a crusty by-product called latik. The products of both processes have many uses, from ointment and lubrication to cooking and food additive. There is one difference though, virgin coconut oil is richer with vitamins and enzymes - which are otherwise minimized or lost in the traditional method.