Okay so the title sounds like a little showdown, but in reality both of them are playing for the same team. The coconut. But what’s the difference? They kinda look similar, and both butter and fat sound like they come from the same family soooo what’s the deal.
Before you drop some #cashmoney on these two products, I thought it’d be helpful to give you a little more information on what both of them are before you buy. It’s easy to relate it to peanut butter and peanut oil. Both used for different purposes, but they stem from the same food. One product extracts the oil, while the other includes the whole food itself. Similar to what I said in last week’s tahini post, I didn’t know coconut butter existed until instagram, and even after tasting it, I still wasn’t sure what it was. So without further ado, the difference between coconut oil and coconut butter:
This one is a little more well known. You get coconut oil by extracting the pure oil from the coconut. If you take a gander at the nutrition facts, you’ll see that it’s made up of just fats. No protein, carbs, or anything else, just the oil. At room temp, it’ll be liquid, and it solidifies when cooled.
I personally love cooking with coconut oil. I use it to roast vegetables, coat my cast iron skillet, and to grease baking pans. Since it solidifies when cooled, I like to bake with it, and then store the goods in the fridge afterwards. I found a coconut oil cooking spray that is 100% coconut oil and have been loving that too. Less mess and less time than scooping it out.
You may remember coconut oil getting its 15 minutes of fame last year when the American Heart Association called it unhealthy. To each his own, but I still use coconut oil at least once a day. I choose not to fear saturated fat, think it has good anti-microbial benefits, and think it can be beneficial to the heart as well.
If coconut oil is to peanut oil, then coconut butter is to peanut butter. Not sure if that makes sense, but just like peanut butter is made by using the whole peanut, coconut butter is made by using the “whole” coconut (the coconut meat). Coconut oil is purely fat, but coconut butter contains fat plus fiber and carbs.
When cooled, coconut butter feels almost like it’s bad because it’s so un-malleable and crumbly. When warmed, it gets creamy and delicious. Just be careful because coconut burns super fast. I wouldn’t microwave it for more than 10 seconds at a time.
Coconut butter is more often eaten “as is” (or at least melted) instead of using it to cook or bake with.
Ways to enjoy coconut butter:
- Melted, then spread on top of banana bread or toast
- Melted, then cooled in candy trays as little snacks
- Stirred into oatmeal
- Melted, then spread over a muffin like icing (pictured above)
- Blended into a smoothie, or melted and drizzled on top
Where can I find these?
I usually buy coconut oil in bulk (Costco) because it’s cheapest and will be used. You can find it in almost any store nowadays. Coconut butter may be more difficult to find, but it will be with the oils or nut butters. It’s in all natural chains like Whole Foods, TJ’s, and Sprout’s, but I get mine on Amazon. Typically cheaper and arrives right at my door. Can’t argue with that.