Plus an enlightening interview with Dua Dua founder Hans Anderson - on discerning the freshness and quality of coconut oil
The sun is shining and our favorite summer activities are in full swing - beach, picnics, barefoot volleyball and everything in between. Yet the high heat and strong rays can leave our skin and digestive system in desperate need of hydration.
What a better way to stay balmy and nourished than with sun-kissed coconut oil?
While the bountiful benefits of coconut oil have been backed by extensive studies for some time now, it’s the quality of this versatile staple that makes all the difference when using it in recipes or in DIY health products.
Our top pick is fresh, raw and organic Coconut Oil by Dua Dua, a small company of third-generation coconut farmers born out of the Solomon Islands.
Why Dua Dua is the freshest, most nutrient-rich coconut oil you can buy
Centrifuging fresh coconuts in small batches is Dua Dua’s benchmark process for virgin coconut oil extraction. This way retains its freshness - and yields a raw coconut oil that’s practically the same as it exists in fresh coconut meat.
Centrifuging also prevents contamination, alteration and deterioration of the oil. Therefore, the oil is free of acid and peroxide contamination, aflatoxin (poisonous carcinogens produced by certain molds) and diminution of the heat-sensitive vitamin E.
To put this in perspective, most commercial coconut oil producers use a “dry process,” where shredded coconut meat is placed in a high-heat desiccating dryer and then squeezed in a press - often yielding a waxy oil with a slightly toasty taste.
There are only a few coconut oil producers in the world who employ the precious centrifuging process. For Dua Dua, the entire process from cracking the coconut to the bottling of the oil takes less than 12 hours. You’d be hard pressed to find a coconut oil that’s more fresh … unless you work for Dua Dua and sneak a scoop for yourself straight from the centrifuge!
This care is evident when you crack open your glass bottle of Dua Dua Coconut Oil... It smells like fresh air, sunlight and gently sweet coconuts. It’s light yet luxurious - and it tastes cool and creamy.
Even more, in setting out to make the highest quality coconut oil around, Dua Dua owners Hans Anderson and wife Sylvia have infused sustainable industry and employment into the Solomon Islands. You can read more about this below, in our interview with Hans.
Nutrients in your coconut oil
We know quality coconut oil tastes crisp, and that it feels silky on our skin. But why is it considered a superfood?
Coconut oil has an unaltered fatty acid profile and contains 50% medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are also known as lauric acid, and are a unique type of healthy, saturated fatty acids identical to a special group of fats found in human breast milk.
This fat composition makes coconut oil one of the most beneficial fats on the planet. Unlike long-chain fatty acids found in plant-based oils, medium chain triglycerides are:
- Easier to digest, as they don’t need enzymes and bile to break up into separate fatty acids.
- Processed by the liver, which means that they’re immediately converted to energy instead of being stored as fat.
- Antimicrobial and antifungal, as lauric acid, and its digestive byproduct monolaurin, can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi.*
MCTs in their natural form have been shown to support cognitive function, the heart and a healthy weight.* This is a testament to coconut oil’s benefits and plentiful uses.*
And now here are the top 12 ways you can use Dua Dua Coconut Oil to make your summer complete
Of course, real food comes first at Corganic! We will start with our favorite recipes using Dua Dua Coconut Oil.
1. Coconut Energy Bites
Great to pack in a picnic or for a little snack on your bike ride - and super easy and customizable to your tastes.
- 2 cups raw pitted medjool dates
- 1 tablespoon Dua Dua Coconut Oil
- 1 teaspoon flax or chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon nut butter of your choice
- 1 cup organic cashews
- ½ cup organic walnuts
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut flakes
- Combine in a food processor: medjool dates, coconut oil, flax or chia seeds, nut butter, cashews, walnuts, and 1 tablespoon coconut flakes.
- Blend to your liking - some like the consistency more smooth and some like it more chunky.
- Roll 1- inch balls by hand, and roll them around in coconut flakes (and/or extra chia or sesame seeds).
- Let the Energy Bites set in fridge for an hour and serve!
2. Melty Coconut Fudgesicles
A quick, cooling and easy treat to cool down on hot afternoons.
- 3 tablespoons organic raw cacao powder
- 2 cups organic milk of your choice (full-fat organic coconut milk, whole milk or almond milk),
- 1 tablespoon melted Dua Dua Coconut Oil
- 1 teaspoon (to taste) raw honey
- Combine in a food processor: cacao powder, milk of your choice, melted coconut oil, raw honey to taste.
- Blend and make sure cacao powder is emulsified.
- Fill up popsicle molds and freeze.
- If you prefer a soft, melty fudgsicle, let your pop sit out for five minutes before that first lick.
3. Coconut Oil Vinaigrette with Honey and Fresh Lemon
A refreshing, tangy salad dressing with a hint of coconut. Perfect atop grilled veggies or your favorite fresh greens.
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ⅓ cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup melted Dua Dua Coconut Oil
- 1 teaspoon (to taste) raw honey
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Fresh, chopped garden herbs like basil, rosemary and mint, if available
- Whisk together apple cider vinegar, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, coconut oil and raw honey
- Add salt, crushed garlic and herbs.
- Pour into mason jar, cover with lid and shake!
- Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve within a week (dressing will harden in the fridge. Just place bottle under warm water until it returns to liquid).
4. Simple Sweet Potato Fries
A fantastic compliment to your favorite barbecued chicken or burgers. So yummy you don’t even miss the frying!
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
- 2 tablespoons Dua Dua Coconut Oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper, to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder, to taste
- ½ teaspoon paprika, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Slice sweet potatoes into thin, ½ inch french fry pieces.
- Place on baking sheet with 2 tablespoons Dua Dua Coconut Oil and work the oil into the potatoes with your hands.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper and other herbs of your choice.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until your desired crispiness is achieved.
5. Lovely Blueberry Smoothie
Start the day with this nutritious smoothie, or take a guzzle after your workout.
- 2 cups blueberries (or whatever berries you have on hand, either frozen or fresh)
- 1 cup organic milk of your choice
- 2 tablespoons melted Dua Dua Coconut Oil
- ¼ cup unsweetened organic yogurt of your choice (plain or Greek)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- lemon juice from half a raw lemon
- 1 cup raw cashews
- Combine in a blender: berries, milk, coconut oil, yogurt, chia seeds, raw honey, lemon juice , cashews.
- Blend until smooth.
- Serve with a few ice cubes and enjoy!
- Can be refrigerated for up to three days.
6. Your Favorite Light Summer Stir Fry
This one’s on you! Coconut milk and shredded coconut are often already on the ingredient list of many popular stir fry dishes. Emphasize this flavor profile of your favorite light stir fry by sautéing your vegetables and/or meat in Dua Dua Coconut Oil.
Now here are are our favorite ways to generously moisturize with Dua Dua Coconut Oil on summer skin - a beautiful way to ditch the harsh chemicals in commercial healthcare products.
7. After-Sun Moisturizer
Coconut oil’s moisturizing properties are perfect for parched or pink skin after hours in the sun.
- 1 cup Dua Dua Coconut Oil
- 6 drops (or more if you adore!) lavender essential oil
- Mix one cup coconut oil with lavender.
- Just rub it on several times a day to keep your skin hydrated.
- Store in a glass jar for the summer.
- (Don’t forget to moisturize your lips before and after sun!)
8. Whipped Body Butter with Coconut Oil
Dua Dua is wonderful on its own as an all-purpose body lotion. If you want more, here’s our go-to recipe for homemade body butter.
- ½ cup Dua Dua Coconut Oil
- ¾ cup cocoa butter
- 6 drops or more of your favorite essential oil
- Melt coconut oil in a double boiler with cocoa butter.
- Mix in a bowl with a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
- Place in freezer for up to 20 minutes, until the oil on the sides of the bowl hardens and the middle is thickened.
- Remove from freezer and whisk with a hand mixer (or good old fashioned whisk) until your oils become buttery.
- Place into a mason jar and slater it on as needed!
9. Natural, Aromatic Insect Repellent
Mosquitoes and other bugs don't like the strong aroma of essential oils such as tea tree, eucalyptus, lemongrass, lavender, citronella, wintergreen, peppermint or spearmint; and coconut oil is a perfect carrier oil to dilute the essential oils and simultaneously moisturize your skin.
- 1 cup Dua Dua Coconut Oil (or more depending on the size of your family)
- A combo of 3 or more essential oils of your choice: tea tree, eucalyptus, lemongrass, lavender, citronella, wintergreen, peppermint or spearmint
- (We like a mix of citronella, eucalyptus, wintergreen, tea tree and peppermint)
- Gather your coconut oil, a mixing bowl and a spoon.
- Spoon out 1 cup of coconut oil, or the amount you’ll need to cover exposed skin for you and your family. Mash up the coconut oil in bowl.
- Mix in a few drops each of your chosen essential oil.
- Stir until the mixture is smooth
- Apply it to the skin as you would a lotion… then head outdoors protected!
- If you’ve gotten a mosquito bite, applying a thin layer of coconut oil will protect and prevent the area from being exposed to dirt and bacteria, and can quell the itching sensation.
10. Leave-in Conditioner
Salt water and chlorine can dry out your hair. Protect your follicles with coconut oil!
- 1 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, depending on the thickness of your hair
- Rub a small amount of coconut oil in between your hands and work into your hair before you hit the beach or dive in the pool.
- Pay special attention the roots and ends.
- Wash after swimming, or leave it in all day for extra conditioning!
11. Chemical Free Deodorant - that actually works!
Our personal favorite deodorant recipe helps stave off the summer sweat.
- 6 tablespoons melted Dua Dua Coconut Oil
- 3 tablespoons organic baking soda
- 3 tablespoons organic baking soda (or organic arrowroot powder)
- A few drops of your favorite scented essential oil
- Mix melted coconut oil with baking soda and organic corn starch (or arrowroot powder).
- Add a few drops of your favorite scented essential oil (optional for sensitive skin) and let the mix harden.
- Store covered in a glass jar at room temperature.
- Apply once or twice a day - and stay fresh!
12. Exfoliating and Moisturizing Body Scrub
For extra healing properties and help sloughing off dry skin.
- 1 cup Dua Dua Coconut Oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon magnesium oil
- A few drops of your favorite essential oil
- Mix coconut oil with sea salt, magnesium oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
- Store in a glass jar and use in the shower as needed!
Bonus: Nix head lice from summer camp - with coconut oil!
If your child has returned home from summer camp with not only fun-filled memories but a head of of lice… rest assured, this holistic recipe can help within just a couple of hours.
- ½ cup Dua Dua Coconut Oil
- ½ cup olive oil
- Just mix coconut oil and a olive oil together.
- Totally cover the scalp and comb the mixture all the raw through the hair.
- Leave it on your child for two-to-three hours.
- Wash it out, twice and dry thoroughly to the roots.
- Comb through hair again - and say goodbye to pesky head lice.
More about Dua Dua with co-founder Hans Anderson
Now that you have even more ideas on how to use this truly special, raw coconut oil, we’d like to share an enlightening interview we had with Hans Anderson, co-founder of Dua Dua.
Q. Tell us how you got started.
A. I was actually in the Peace Corps in the 1990s and was stationed in Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. I was teaching science and my now wife was a local there and also a teacher. She was on a remote island called Dua Dua and her family was farming coconuts since the early 1900s.
The Chinese would come and trade knives, spoons, forks and matches for her family’s coconuts. That's how her grandparents would receive goods. The coconuts made their way over to Europe, where they were dried and squeezed into oil. Most of the soap in the world was made from coconuts by Lever Brothers way back in the 1900s and they are still around.
My wife and I got married in 1999 and we were working on her family’s coconut plantation. Traditionally, you would sell coconuts to trading ships and local farmers were on meager wages for extremely hard work. So we decided to invest in coconut oil processing equipment - not yet knowing what we were doing… And around that same time, the price of fuel was extremely high so in turn, this equipment was uneconomical because it was extremely expensive to import fuel to a remote island. So we ended up converting our equipment to run on coconut oil because we were making it.
This was in about 2006... at that time in America you didn’t see much coconut oil on the shelves. We brought some back (to America) and no one saw it as sellable items in the stores. We realized there wasn't much a market for it. So we started making soap back in the Solomon Islands because locals use it, as well as coconut body oil and hair oil.
A year later, we started seeing coconut oil on the shelves in America. And it was our goal to provide the best product in the world.
Q. Tell us what the best quality coconut oil means to you.
A. There are basically two main methods to produce coconut oil.
There’s the dry process where they shred up the meat, put it in a desiccating dryer - like an oven but with a conveyor belt - and the meat goes into a press to squeeze the oil out. About 99% of coconut oil on the market is made with the dry process. It gives a slightly toasty, burned taste to the coconut oil because it’s actually been in a dryer.
We wanted to have highest quality coconut oil, even though the process is more difficult, time consuming and expensive. That process is centrifuging, where you take the fresh, shredded coconut meat and instead of desiccating it through the dryer, you squeeze it out. So then you have a coconut milk with oil mixed in. From there, you run it three times through the centrifuge and that centrifuge separates the oil from the water. You therefore have a pure product that hasn’t been heated up at all. Our coconut oil has a really nice, smooth taste compared to the desiccated process.
Our whole goal is to do everything as natural as possible and stay away from anything synthetic. That’s why we use glass jars.
Q. How can consumers discern the quality of their coconut oil?
A. It’s really about being knowledgeable about the process, the taste and country of origin.
Sri Lanka coconuts are smaller and have a different taste, where Thai and Vietnam coconuts are sweeter. Coconuts from the Philippines run the gamut and the Solomon Islands have large, meaty coconuts.
As popular as coconut oil is, it’s still in its infancy; and people don’t have the knowledge yet to discern the taste difference or the way it’s produced. They’re only after the price.
This happens because the big name brands on the shelves are all coming out of the same, large facilities in the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. There’s no discernible taste difference because the oils are coming from the same places. The only difference in most cases, is the labels. Most of these companies use the desiccated process and they will turn up the heat really high so they can get the most oil possible from the coconut.
I liken it to a craft brewery. Twenty years ago, Budweiser was considered a great beer. Now that craft brewing is more popular, people start to distinguish the taste and production methods.
Q. Where is Dua Dua Coconut Oil made?
A. Our Dua Dua Coconut OIl is currently and temporarily from Thailand, as the demand has surpassed what the village farm on the Solomon Islands can produce. So to get the volume we need, we worked with a German facility that has certified plantations and a centrifuge. Our soaps, lotions and hair oils are still handcrafted on the island.
We are working on certifying plantations and tribal lands on the Solomon Islands. Our goal is to get enough certified and have a centrifuge up and running there.
Q. What impact is your company having on the Solomon Islands?
A. The reason we started is because traditionally the family farm was exporting coconuts. Now we are able to export soap and products for the and hair. Farmers were getting a lower price for coconuts. But we offered 30 cents per kilogram higher for trading the coconuts. We are bringing more revenue in and the employees are all Solomon Islanders.
On these remote islands, there’s no industry at all. There’s a few government workers who need fruit and veggies so they buy from the villagers. The only source of income they have is growing coconuts and sending them on a trading ship where they make their main revenue. Now the locals have employment opportunities because they are actually getting a wage.
Q. What are your favorite ways to use coconut oil?
A. My favorite is for frying pancakes and eggs. It makes for a light and crispy tasting breakfast! Most of my personal applications are frying. My son and my wife have very curly hair, so they use it on their body and hair daily.