Sunday, 30 October 2011

Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil Review

The other day, I received a jar of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions. I had heard great things about their coconut oil (especially for gluten free baking) and couldn't wait to try it out. I wasn't exactly sure where to start, so I went to their free coconut recipes blog. If you have coconut oil or are planning to buy it, this is a great resource and I highly recommend checking it out. Although I didn't use any specific recipes from their blog, I got a general idea of how coconut oil can be used in baking as well as in cooking. But, before I go into my experiences cooking with this product, I should tell you a little bit about Tropical Traditions' unique method of extracting their coconut oil.

Basically, the Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is made by hand, in small batches, and the oil is allowed to separate naturally, avoiding the need to use chemicals and other harsher methods of extraction. For more information, check out this short video (3:22) explaining the process and the background of the company. It's actually quite interesting to see how it's made.

The first thing I noticed about this coconut oil was the amazing smell. When I first opened it, I tasted a bit of the oil straight from the jar, and I was surprised at how strong the coconut flavour was. I am a big fan of coconut so this was a definite plus for me. My husband wanted to try it out right away, so he made a little vanilla coconut steamer with some of the oil. I'm not sure that this is the best way to consume coconut oil, because it kind of floats on the top, but he seemed to enjoy it. The first thing I tried was some stove top rice pudding. I combined some leftover rice with sugar, milk, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, corn starch and coconut oil. I really liked the taste of the coconut oil in my simple rice pudding, but I really wanted to try the oil in gluten free baking.

Cocoa Coconut Rice Pudding made with Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil
I tried substituting the coconut oil in place of canola oil in some of my gluten free recipes. I liked the coconut taste and the great texture it gave to my gluten free pumpkin cream cheese muffins. It made the muffins sturdier and gave them a nice springy texture. I also tried the coconut oil in some pumpkin pancakes (can you tell it's fall?) along with some coconut flour. I loved how it kept the pancakes strong (not crumbly) but they still felt soft (almost a melt in your mouth kind of thing). I substituted coconut oil for canola oil in one of my GF bread recipes, and while it was great for texture, I found it a bit strong flavour-wise for bread. I'm not sure that the sweet coconut flavour would be great for savory sandwiches.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

GF Multigrain Bread made with Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil 
Tip: Since the coconut oil is solid at room temperature, it is necessary to have all of your ingredients at room temperature so that the coconut oil doesn't re-solidify when you add eggs or milk (this I learned the hard way).

I had read on many different websites, that coconut oil is great for making shell chocolate that hardens on contact with cold things (like ice cream - think dairy queen dipped cones). I decided to try out this shell chocolate by melting some coconut oil with chocolate wafers (in a double boiler) and dipping banana halves in the mixture. Then I simply froze them on a tray, but you could push a popsicle stick into one end to make your own choco-banana popsicles (or even try rolling them in nuts or shredded coconut). I was heasitatn about eating frozen banana, but I was pleasantly surprised. The subtle coconut flavour went really well with the chocolate and banana. It made a yummy (and healthier) substitute for those frozen ice cream bars. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of these. Oh well, I will just have to make them again!

I am happy to give two thumbs up for this product and for the Tropical Traditions company!

Information for buying Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil can be found on their website (for USA here, Canada here, and Europe here). They often have great sales going so check back often!

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product.

No comments:

Post a Comment