Yes, you can use coconut oil as a natural preservative for food, thanks to its 80 – 90% saturated fats. Saturated fats do not readily react with free radicals. And so they do not oxidize easily. What about the remaining unsaturated fats in coconut oil? Will they oxidize and cause problem?
The saturated fats that predominate in coconut oil will spatially spread out the unsaturated fats. This will cut off the interactions among the unsaturated fats that could have resulted in chain reaction in case they oxidize with the presence of free radicals. But that's just the theory.
My experience in using virgin coconut oil or RBD coconut oil as natural preservatives for my peanut butter has been good and sort of proven the theory.
Peanut butter is highly unsaturated. To slow its rate of oxidation and prevent it from turning bad, you need to keep it in the refrigerator. But ever since I started to use RBD or virgin coconut oil to preserve the food naturally, I do not need to refrigerate the butter spread anymore. It can stay out at room temperature for months without turning bad.
You can also use MCT oil or liquid coconut oil as natural preservatives too. These food-grade fractionated coconut oils are 100% saturated.
It's worth noting that they're much lighter (and hence, thinner) than RBD or virgin coconut oil, and so they can make your peanut butter or fruit jam (for example) more watery. You need some trial and error to find the right consistency to fit in your preference.
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