Coconut Oil and Fat

April Fulton over on NPR.org, posted this article looking at the benefits of using coconut oil in cooking

"Is Coconut Oil All It's Cracked Up To Be? Get The Facts On This Faddish Fat"

"In the past few years, coconut oil has been called a superfood that can help you blast belly fat and raise your good cholesterol. The sweet and nutty trendsetter has been featured in many cookbooks as a substitute for olive or canola oil — and it can cost a bundle at the store. A recent survey found that 72 percent of Americans say coconut oil is a "healthy food," but many nutrition experts aren't convinced. The problem is that coconut oil contains a lot of saturated fat — the kind that is a big risk factor for heart disease, which kills more than 17 million people a year worldwide."

An important factor in having good health is knowing the vitamins and minerals in the foods you eat, especially in the coming decades as climate change and increased CO2 causes a decrease in nutrition of major foods. Being healthier has a direct correlation in how you handle stress and minimizing your rise of heart disease will be crutual when medical care is either too expensive to get or not there at all.

Add to that is the simple factor of travel costs. I don't see many coconut trees outside my window here in St Louis. We will need to re-localize as much of our food supplies as we can. Bottom line, coconut oil might be OK for the occasional Asian stir fry but there are better and more healthy alternatives.

Alacrates's picture

One thing I would like to see are more local beef products. It's fairly easy to get grass-fed ground beef and some more expensive steaks and other cuts. We can get grass-fed butter as well where I am (Manitoba, Canada), but it is not local.

I would like to be able to get local butter, even if it wasn't entirely grass-fed, which I guess is hard to do when the weather is cold for 6 months of the year. Even more so, I'd like to be able to by local beef fat (tallow) from healthy, local cattle.

I have rendered my own beef fat one time, which I guess was technically 'suet', coming from the fat around the kidneys (?). Basically just chopped up the trimmings, cooked them in a pot, adding water at times I believe, then strained out the pure fat. It left a hard clear fat. I was going to use it for soap-making, but I never got around to it yet, the bricks have been sitting in the back of my fridge for 2+ years! But I opened it up the other day, it looked just the same when I put it in, no odor of rancidity at all.

I remember reading that Julia Childs really liked McDonald's french fries back in the day they cooked them in tallow, but said they took a turn for the worse when McDonald's switched to vegetable shortening.

I think I remember hearing on the ReWilding Podcast that the host of that show relies on bear fat from his hunting for as much of his cooking that he can manage, and uses local butter for the rest.

Do you have a local dairy farm, that sells heavy whipping cream? If so make your own I would be happy to go through the steps. Making butter is not that hard. I can work on my computer skills at posting pictures!!!!!!!!!

Alacrates's picture

Ah that is a good idea. I've never got into butter making - though you jogged my memory, when I was a cook we did make butter (not sure if this is all there is to it) by putting heavy cream in a mixer and whipping it until it hardened up. Not sure if there is a local dairy farm that sells in the city, but I'll definitely keep it in mind now!

pictures please

You can make butter, sour cream, and whipped cream from cream or as it is called in the stores whipping cream. Whipped cream is just that COLD CREAM whipped up with a mixer. Sour cream is cream that has buttermilk added 1 part buttermilk to 3 or 4 parts cream let sit in a sealed container for 12-16 hours at room temp enjoy. To make butter let cream sit at room temp for 6-18 hours in a sealed container. You can purchase a butter churn from Lehmans Hardware for under 50 dollars US. Or as Green wizards make your own. The most basic is a mason jar with a lid, fill half full and shake and shake and shake great project to do with young children. To make a better butter churn. Dollar General sells a nice big 2 quart + size jar with flat sides works better than a round jar. For a paddle use a wood pancake turner that is straight take a knife and reduce the Dia. of the handle to 3/8 inch for the last one inch. To turn the paddle you can use a battery powered drill Yes it does work!!! Or use a hand drill such as a Miller Falls number 5. Every Green Wizard needs a hand drill or 2 or 3 or more. Will take pictures and post in the next day or two all my pictures making butter are with children and I will not put there faces on the internet. After the butter is made you remove the butter from the liquid and push it around to get it dry. Then add a little salt. We make butter in small batches using 1 quart of cream at a time.

I'm still working out the basics of formatting and posting photos here Blueberry. Send the photos to me via email and I'll post them for you. I also have Photoshop and can blur the faces for you too. Just label them with the order you want them added to the post.