Friday, July 15, 2011

Product Review: Tropical Traditions Gold Label Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Several weeks ago I got the great news that Tropical Traditions wanted to send me a sample of their Gold Label Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil! I follow Tropical Traditions (@Troptraditions) on Twitter and I have referenced their recipes and related content many times here. Not to mention that their website is a great resource for many of the products I use besides coconut oil, like Rapunzel Sugar and the full line of Eden Organics products(they have GREAT apple cider Vinegar). Of course I would accept a gift of some high quality coconut oil!

I have been using coconut oil ever since last fall when I first learned about the dangers of polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Not only is it a great alternative, it contains healthy fatty acids like lauric acid, which is also found in human breastmilk. Read about Lauric Acid here. And although coconut oil is high in saturated fat (it is a solid at around 72 degrees), there is significant evidence that coconut oil does not have a significant effect on cholesterol levels.

Tropical Traditions Gold Label oil is in a class by itself. An unrefined product of the Phillipines, the oil is made with only certified organics coconuts. But it is the traditional processing techniques that really impressed me about this oil. Their website explains in detail,

This Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is a truly unrefined coconut oil. This coconut oil is made on Mt. Banahaw and surrounding areas from organic coconuts. Coconuts are used fresh (within 24-48 hours of harvest) from small family farms on Mt. Banahaw and other rural places in Quezon Province, the coconut capital of the Philippines. Only the highest quality coconuts are hand-picked from each harvest. The volcanic soil of Mt. Banahaw makes these organic coconuts some of the most nutritionally rich coconuts in the world! Testing done in independent labroratories reveals higher levels of phenolic antioxidants than other coconut oils. The fresh coconut meat is shredded (wet milled), and then cold-pressed using the water from inside the coconuts to make coconut milk. The milk is then allowed to sit for about half a day, while the oil naturally separates from the heavier water. The oil is then filtered from the curds (coconut solids). No chemical or high-heat treatment is used, and this oil contains no trans fatty acids. We do NOT mass produce this oil. It is made by families who are coconut farmers using old-fashioned traditional methods that have been used in the Philippines for hundreds of years. Our coconut trees and family producers are certified organic according to strict USDA standards. The families who produce the oil are also trained according to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) standards and re-certified each year. This high-grade Virgin Coconut Oil has a long shelf life due to the high antioxidant properties. The Gold Label Standard is our highest standard for Virgin Coconut Oil.

The oil arrived promptly (packaged in glass unlike my other coconut oils) and I immediately began using it. I have used it in place of the other brands of coconut oil that I have previously used. I use it to pan fry super lean grass fed meats because of its high stability. I have used it in baked goods because it is perfect in muffins and the like, a much healthier replacement to vegetble oils. It is fabulous to use when I make my morning granola. I will even sneak in a spoonful onto our morning oatmeal. It's taste is subtle, but very fresh and coconutty.

But....I have hemmed and hawed over what recipe to include in my review of the product. Many of the applications in which I have used the oil have been basic. They don't really highlight the subtle flavor of the oil. Gold Label coconut oil is a fine product, much like a fine artisan olive oil. I wanted to blog about a recipe where the oil was raw and imperitive to the dish. I finally decided, mayonaise.

Mayo? Yup. Homemade lacto-fermented mayonaise has become one of the most important things I make. It is easy to find mayo that is made without soybean oil in the grocery store. But usually the alternative oils are still polyunsaturated, like canola. and sometimes even the good brands still mix soybean oil in the product. But in trying to avoid polyunsaturated fats in general, I kinda have to make my own. Normal homemade mayo only lasts for a few days, but with lacto-fermentation, by adding whey the mayonnaise is preserved for several months in the fridge.

Mayo made with olive oil or sunflower oil is strong! And it can be runny. But I have found that adding some coconut oil not only softens the flavors, but because coconut oil is a saturated fat it is solid at refrigerator temperatures and it gives your mayo a nice firmness. Using Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil in this recipe adds a wonderful flavor and lots of nutrition.

Lacto Fermented Mayonnaise (Original recipe from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon)
1 Whole Egg, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon whey
2/3 of a cup olive oil
1/3 cup Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil
Generous pinch of salt

In your food processor, place egg, egg yolk, mustard, salt, lemon juice and optional whey. Process until well blended, about 30 seconds. Using the attchment that allows you to add liquids drop by drop, add the olive oil first and then the coconut oil with the motor running. Taste and check seasoning. You may want to add more salt and lemon juice. If you have added whey, let the mayonnaise sit at room temperature well covered, for 7 hours before refrigerating. With whey added, mayonnaise will keep for several months. Without whey, mayonnaise will keep for about 2 weeks.


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.


  1. Silly question...but how do you come by the whey? Are you making it yourself from your kefir grains or some other culture? Or are you buying it? Can one buy whey??

  2. I have used TT coconut oil for years. Cooking. Moisturizer. Deodorant. And so on. BUT I am commenting here because, after reading your entries for the last half-hour, I LOVE YOUR BLOG and just subscribed by e-mail. :)

    For whey: Put a coffee filter inside several layers of cheesecloth in a strainer and carefully pour in a good quality plain yogurt (Some do use kefir but I haven't yet.) When it has stopped dripping steadily, carefully lift it out of the strainer and, knotting the ends of the cheesecloth, or putting a rubber band around the ends, suspend it from a cabinet knob to continue dripping into the bowl. When it stops, put the compact mass in the cheesecloth (called yogurt cheese) into a container, and the whey into another, and refrigerate both. Quick rundown so I hope that made sense.~Pogonia