Pantry Staples: Trader Joe's Organic Coconut Oil

You guys know that Trader Joe's is now carrying coconut oil, right? Because that's kind of the most awesome news ever. I may or may not have jumped with glee when I saw it on store shelves last week.

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Coconut oil blasted on the food scene last year, helped along by articles like Melissa Clark's in the New York Times. The oil is solid and semi-soft at room temperature and can be used for sautéing, roasting, and even baking. Or, you know, spreading on a slice of toast like butter. The mellow coconut-y flavor of the oil lingers after cooking and makes a fresh change from the usual.

Trader Joe's coconut oil is organic and "virgin," which means it's pressed from fresh mature coconut meat. From talking to a Trader Joe's employee (who was, perhaps, even more giddy about the coconut oil than I was), I also learned that this oil is not made using hexane. It's pressed purely through mechanical action. The oil smells fresh and sweet, and looks glossy white in the jar. Now I understand why people talk about opening the jar just to smell it!

For my first foray into coconut oil cookery, I simply drizzled a few melted spoonfuls over a bowl of plain popcorn and topped it with some sea salt. Bliss. Those of you who love salty-sweet combos, you need to try this as soon as humanly possible. I'm very excited to move on to experiments with curries, roasted vegetables, and homemade energy bars.

Keep an eye out for this product at your local Trader Joe's, and cross your fingers that it's not discontinued any time soon.

What have you been making with coconut oil?

Related: Easy & Healthy Switch: Olive Oil for Butter in Baked Goods

(Image: Emma Christensen)

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