When cooking I usually use vegetable oil or canola oil but as I have decided to put cooking oil in my food storage I wondered if buying bulk vegetable oil or canola oil would be wise. From what I have found on the internet these 2 cooking oils last up to a year if sealed, once opened they last less than 6 months. With this short of a shelf life they might not be the best for my long term food storage, though I will probably always keep an extra bottle on hand just because it is cheap.
I then moved on to Crisco shortening which I found out stores longer because it stores in a solid state instead of a liquid state like most cooking oils. According to Crisco.com, Crisco shortening in a can lasts 2 years when unopened and 1 year if opened. This is a little bit better for storing but not quite as long as I would like for my long term food storage.
Recently my friend introduced me to coconut oil, which also stores in a solid state. Coconut Oil has a melting point of 76 degrees, so as long as it is stored in a room that is cooler than that it will stay in a solid state. The labels on coconut oil says it will last 18 months plus but as I have searched the internet everyone says it is good for several years past the expiration date. Quality First International Inc says they have had coconut oil stored for 7 years and it is just now showing small signs of going rancid, now that is more like it. They also said that refined coconut oil goes rancid much faster so buy Cold Pressed Coconut Oil for the best unrefined coconut oil that will last the longest.
I have now started to use coconut oil in my everyday cooking to see if I like it. The results have been good. It actually ads a little more taste to the foods I use it in. The draw backs of using coconut oil are that it is hard to measure (you just can’t pour it into a measuring cup) and I it is not good for frying because it has a lower temperature burning point. For most uses coconut oil works great and I am going to start using it on a more regular basis.
Another benefit of coconut oil in your food storage is that its good for your body, sometimes called the “healthiest cooking oil”. If you ever end up having to use your long term food storage you may be using freeze dried foods and white rice that lack nutrition so it is nice to have ingredients that add healthy nutrients to your body. To read about the several health benefits of coconut oil see thenourishinggourmet.com for a descriptive list.
Coconut oil is a bit more expensive than other oils but its storage life is well worth the extra price when it comes to building up my long term food storage.