There are many wet milled virgin coconut oil floating in the market stating superiority of their products and the ways they make it; especially non-heated ones.
Traditionally ayurvedic medicine was only prepared with Venda Velichenna (Uruku velichenna) which means coconut oil that is boiled. Let’s see why they preferred this method.
It all begins with extracting milk from coconuts. Today’s factory made virgin oil uses centrifuge, refrigeration, fermentation or organic solvents to separate oil from the milk. (This is not particularly harmful as per most experts so far. I would say as an oil it is good, but shouldn’t be filthy expensive). Now if you try to taste coconut milk after oil extraction it will still taste and smell good, so basically you are losing out on lot of known and unknown things in the coconut milk which should be passed onto the oil.
The basic principle of the extraction process I describe here is that water evaporates at 100 deg Celsius and coconut oil is unaltered in this process. This is provided you boil the milk at a very low flame and stir continuously to maintain constant and uniform temperature. Vessel also plays a major role. When the water starts evaporating, cream gradually curdles and then it leaves behind all the nutrients, ultimately hardening like wax. It takes approx 6 hours of boiling to get perfect oil.
The coconut oil extracted by hot conditions (HECO) contained more phenolic substances than the coconut oil extracted under cold conditions (CECO).
Means more antioxidants in heated coconut oil from milk. I am sure there is much more to this, which will be discovered in coming years.
Traditional process of making Virgin Coconut oil (Venda Velichenna – Uruku velichenna)
- Only use matured good quality coconuts.
- Cut open 30 nuts for a liter of oil. Now scrape them fine.
- Squeeze hard with muslin cloth to extract all the milk. Make sure you keep this milk in a separate container.
- Now mix a little warm water with the already squeezed scrapings. Now squeeze it further to extract leftover milk. Warm water loosens up all the fat left in the scrapping. You can also use a stone grinder to extract more milk.
- Traditional Kerala brass vessel known as an Uruli is used for this purpose.
- Make sure the flame is very low and consistent. High heat can spoil the nutritional value of the oil.
- Heat the second extracted milk and then gradually add the first thick milk to it once water level has reduced after 2 or 3 hours. Make sure you constantly stir it. This will stop oil from heating and the cream from sticking to the vessel.
- The liquid will now resemble oil and thick cream.
- This oil still has a lot of moisture which has to be reduced further. Keep stirring.
- Cream will start to curdle and form small soft granules. Keep going.
- Keep few Tulsi leaves ready and try adding one into the boiling oil. If you hear crackling sound means there is no water in the oil. Leaf acts as moisture. If there is no crackling sound keep going.
- Make sure flame is reduced if you see any sudden color change. Cream will start to slowly harden. After cream hardens color will change to mild brown. Time to take the vessel off of the stove.
- If the vessel is too hot the process will keep continuing and cream will turn darker and so will the oil. Best is to move it to another vessel. Oil and cream both.
- Correct consistency is when the cream resembles a malleable wax. There will be lot of oil in it, which has to be pressed with mechanical or hydraulic press.
Below is the video on Venda Velichenna
As mentioned above it may take approx 5 to 6 hours for the milk to reduce and get oil.
Oil color can vary from mild copper to semi dark copper shade. Too much means oil has turned bad. Too little with moisture it will spoil soon.
It’s very difficult to get the right maturity. Patience and dedication is the key to success.