Processing the perfect coconut oil
My forte in life is production of fine quality "medicines". I am a great believer in whole plant extracts -- and not specific chemical extractions. It is very important to use a method of extraction that does not kill the finer medicinal properties "as-found" in natural products and to leave the greatest range of active ingredients possible in the final product. Sometimes this is quite straight forward.
Chili Jabenaro is best used in a traditional style "Courtido". That is Jabenaro Chili Pepper and onion chopped and soaked into vinegar. This makes a healthy full spectrum extraction.
Chaya leaf is best prepared for human medicinal purposes by simply brewing 6 large fresh leaves in one liter of water for 20 minutes. This tea is then consumed through the day.
Root is a product I make that stimulates hormone production in the "elderly" -- all 600 plus of hormones used for normal body functioning. Thus reversing the aging process. It requires a four day multiple extraction -- refluxing four extraction/batches under increasing steam pressure -- in an absolutely sealed reaction chamber.
Cascabel is produced in a special furnace that produces a bone charcoal in exactly the same manner -- time after time -- batch to batch -- under strictly controlled conditions.
When dealing with natural oils and their extraction -- it is so important not to kill them! The Shark Liver Oil I supply is made in only one manner -- extracted by direct exposure to a "low-sun" -- here that is between 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM he carefully sliced fresh shark liver is mounted on a screen over a short piece of galvanized roofing material and exposed to direct sunlight. As the slice parts of liver warm up with the sun light oil drips to the slightly slanted sheet metal below -- and slowly rolls to the collection trough. The sunlight further drying the oil so produced on this journey along the hot sheet metal. A hot sun will burn this oil!! A properly produced shark liver oil has an indefinite life span with no problems about turning rancid. Why? Because it is a "living-oil". Science puts it this way -- it is so full of natural vitamin E -- a powerful antioxidant -- it can't turn rancid. Rancid oils are extremely dangerous to ones health -- and even a very little will disturb digestive processes drastically. So in my trade -- where I am fighting to maintain good digestion in severely ill -- compromised -- patients -- it must be avoided at all costs! So I started to apply my knowledge and experience in living oil production to coconut oil.
In search of the Living Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been produced by varying methods in most tropical countries since the beginning of known human history -- and probably well before. But results of traditional coconut oil extractions are not stable. They will go rancid in one to three months time. This shows that certain vital elements are "killed" in the processing. Still -- this local product is far superior to modern coconut oil -- that is hydrogenated at 600 F then purified stringently by filtration -- etc -- resulting in an oil so sterile it has no food properties (of value) left -- so even bacteria can't feed there. Local distribution of oil and it's consumption is so rapid that even having a one month shelf life is not important. Where in modern industrialized nations -- all foods must be processed to have indefinite shelf lives. But we know that coconut oil contains all the elements to make a natural living oil. The question then becomes how to extract it in such a manner that it still lives. One of the basic elements of proper living oil extraction is already well demonstrated in shark liver oil processing -- where the killer agent is found to be heat. So first -- a method of cold processing must be used. This is rather straight forward. Press the oil out -- rather than traditional methods -- where "complete" separation from a water mixture is dependent on "frying" -- which raises temperatures to levels not acceptable in maintaining life forces in the finished oil product. Cold pressing works only if the coconut meat is very dry first. OK -- that is what the traditional "copra" industry is all about. Coconuts are harvested -- de-husked -- split -- then sun dried -- for a period of 3 weeks and longer. Then this is shipped to the processing plants in far off places -- to be cold pressed extracted. This is the standard process for commercial coconut oil production as practiced in modern industrialized nations since the beginning of the coconut oil industry. So why not just go with that product!! Simply use it before the hydrogenation process is applied? Because that oil will be highly contaminated with rancid elements. During the period of time the coconut is drying -- bacteria set in and start degrading oil into rancid oil. The coconut -- so exposed to the sun -- is weakened and killed -- and no longer has properties to resist invasion by bacteria. A living coconut has an immune system response to bacterial and virus infection. A living coconut is a living seed. Any "nut" is a living organism. It is a seed waiting to germinate. It contains stored food for the initial growth of new plant -- as well as specialized micro nutrients to assure survival. Disease resistance is of prime importance. So it contains methods of insuring its survival against invasive diseases. Every nut does this in a different manner. Many nuts are actually poison to humans as they have evolved to use substances deadly to us as protection to stop infections from taking hold. The pits of wild cherry nut/seed contain cyanide. But many other complicated organic chemicals have evolved to do this same purpose -- and all such seeds/nuts/oils should be avoided for human consumption. The coconut "seed" is a special case -- it contains many nutrients of perfect food value to humans. And yes -- even passing along the medicinal properties it uses to protect itself to the human consuming the oil after.
OK -- how to get this oil out of a coconut and keep it healthy and alive? Well, here is the process I use that has resulted in such an oil. To start -- everything must be done by human labor -- each step of the process must be intimately be watched. Not all coconuts are alive when they reach our processing center. Some are dead and carry infections. So the first part is selecting coconuts for processing. Trying to know which are definitely not of quality -- and discarding those immediately. Yet still -- some slip by that are not "healthy". These are found only when the coconut is broken open. Those that are not perfect are discarded at that time. From there the correct coconut is moved on to the person gratering coconuts. Gratering is a process that is also called wet milling. The meat is extracted from the coconut shell by a rotating grater head. The operator must carefully push the coconut into the whirling coconut grater. The gratings collect in a bucket below the grater. The bucket of gratings is then placed on a large/long flat plate heat exchanger -- bit by bit -- where another operator is constantly monitoring the drying process. The gratings are a wet mulch when first applied to this heated plate -- at the hottest end. They must be spread/turned and moved along at a carefully controlled rate. The operator is engaged in a continual process of watching and minding the process. An over head fan blows a strong "breeze" along the coconut sitting on the plate at all times. Not only does this keep the coconut meat cooler than the plate -- but also it drives off the moisture quickly. Slowly the mass of gratings is worked up the long plate. And the plate is cooler -- till finally the gratings -- almost dry -- are "sprinkled" thinly on the surface of the plate and allowed to dry completely. And dry completely they must!! As any water left in these gratings will allow later bacterial invasion! Last -- the well dried coconut gratings are then stored in a special oven held at 130 to 140 Deg F always. This discourages "infection". At the end of each "run" the stored gratings are taken out as required and cold press extracted. The time from live healthy coconut to dried healthy gratings is never more than one hour. The storage of gratings is never more than 9 hours. The coconut to oil process is never more than 10 hours. The oil so produced is living -- full of vitamin E -- and all other medicinal properties in place. The oil must be purified in a most benign manner. That is best accomplished by allowing it to settle for long periods. A process known as "racking" -- as is practiced in fine wine making. The oil is allowed to settle for 24 hours after extraction. Then the top is decanted into a second container -- where it settles for at least one week. This is then "racked" to another container where it settles for 3 more weeks. Then it is bottled. It takes 30 large "plantation" coconuts to make one gallon (US) of oil. But here in Belize we are making oil from wild coconut -- not plantation coconut -- so it takes 45 to 65 coconuts to make one gallon of oil.
Getting "wild" coconuts to make the best oil
Most of this area of the planet has been struck by a terrible coconut tree disease and just about all plantation coconuts are dead now. You can read a clear report about this natural phenomena at:
So one may well ask just how we manage to get sufficient coconut to produce this "Living Oil"? Belize is blessed with this world's second largest coral reef. This reef contains countless small deserted islands called Cayes (pronounced "keys") The bugs that spread this disease have not be able to infect the small groves of wild coconut found on many of these cayes. I have a small local style sailing boat that is of traditional design to navigate these extremely treacherous areas. Sail boat rather than power Boat as fuel costs are so extreme here -- and such long trips are required. We get most of our coconuts from the Turneffes. The boat's "home" is at Corozal Town -- 3 miles from my Village Xaibe -- at the end of a great bay that extends to the barrier reefs. It is a sailing of over 100 miles to reach the Turneffes! A very good story of our Coconut boat is found at:
As we sometimes charter this boat for adventure trips to people that really want to know our great reefs here in the most intimate manner. The "label" we use is based on a picture taken by this same "Anne" who writes this story. Rest assured -- the coconuts we use are probably the most natural -- the most organic -- of any coconut used for oil production any where else on earth. And that may well be reason for the exceptional properties of our product in medicinal and nutritional applications. It has taken years to derive the process and infrastructure for production of this fine living coconut oil. And many people are employed at doing so. We are probably the most labor intensive operation existing today for coconut oil making. But this is the only way to make a quality oil. The very serious downside of all this is we will never be able to mass market our fine product. I am looking to establish a "small" clientele of regulars who can rest assured of acquiring one of nature's greatest bounties to mankind. Who knows -- they may even take the opportunity to travel with crew in search for living coconuts in the Turneffes? To witness one of the last wild places left on earth today.