I've been buying the same brand of coconut oil for a long time now, and I've been very happy about it... Until now.
When I opened a new jar, I just ate a table spoon of coconut oil without really thinking about it. It tasted extremely 'chemical', it actually hurt my throat. Normally, it doesn't have much of a smell or taste (just a very mild coconut smell), but this time it was extremely bad. I've been using coconut oil for many months now (and I use a lot) and I've never encountered this. Oh, by the way, the expiration date says Dec 2013, so that shouldn't be the problem. The oil has always been stored at room temperature, as I always do, so that shouldn't be the problem either.
There were also some small, black dots in it here and there, as if there is some 'dirt' in there....
I've only eaten one table spoon, but it still worries me. Is it harmful to eat such coconut oil? What makes it smell so bad?
"small, black dots" = mold = mycotoxins. You don't want those. Toss it or return it. The company may have already had complaints about a contaminated batch. Mold is usually introduced to coconut oil along with moisture or from coconut meat that had mold. Coconuts can have aflatoxins, some of the most dangerous mycotoxins.
Added: Make sure you notify the company along with batch number from the jar. You should get a replacement, and they need to know that they have a processing or supplier problem if this was freshly opened jar.
Is it the same brand that you always use? It might be a bad batch, I would return it. Did you pick up refined instead of unrefined? Refined coconut oil does not taste like coconuts.
If it is another brand, it might just be how that brand is made. Coconut Oil can use a lot of chemicals in its extraction, and some of these may change the taste of it.
And, it could have been mold. It has been known to happen.
In any case, trust your body, if it doesn't taste good and hurts your throat, then don't eat it!
It sounds like mold to me.
As for fermented oil tasting like soap. That is common. If the fermentation vats are open to the air, they will eventually turn into a soapy taste. The only solution is a different fermentation process to extract the oil.
In New Zealand we sell two fermented brands. Neither of them taste like soap.
Check if the coconut oil contains "emulsifiers". Mine did and it gave it a distinct chemical taste. Through it out instantly. Coconut oil should just have water and coconut extract, nothing else. Do NOT buy coconut products with emulsifiers, food acids, preservatives. If it does contain an "emulsifier" check its chemical number in brackets where the nutritional info is on the can, then go to this website http://www.dh.sa.gov.au/pehs/Food/additive-code-numbers-nov06.pdf
I've been using coconut oil for a few years and have tried several brands. Haven't found one that I didn't like until I ordered some from a very well known brand that shall remain nameless. They were having a BOGO sale and I couldn't resist, especially because I'd heard nothing but good things about this brand, and they're usually more expensive than the ones I'm used to.
I was completely bummed. The coconut oil smelled and tasted like SOAP. I've never had that before. I've always only had it taste and smell of delicious, almost sweet coconut. This one smelled almost rancid, but I know coconut oil is extremely stable and darn near impossible to make go off/rancid -- especially when you open the jar for the very first time and try some.
I called the company and they said something about their brand (or this particular "version" of their brand) being fermented. I dunno...all I know is it was pretty awful and now I'm back to my tried and true brands that taste good.
I was very surprised and disappointed.
As a nurse, it concerns me that there were 'Black dots'. Never eat anything that shouldn't have black specks in it. It is mold or even could be dirt. I think this is a good lesson for me. From now on, I will pour a small amount of my coconut oil out and look at it carefully, smell it also. I too just recently received a batch of coconut oil going bad. When I received it from the hands of the UPS man, it was extremely warm. I will use it in my soap. It is clear with no black specks, but the taste is slightly soapy. It was NOW brand. I love Garden of Life from Swanson. I shouldn't have changed. I wanted to save a few $$$ and I am paying for it in the long run.
I've also experienced cookies I've made with coconut oil tasting like soap. It seems To happen if I leave the uncooked cookie doughin the fridge a few days. This has happened Several times with new batches of coconut oil. I would love to kow why.
I spent 22 years in the edible oil industry and the answer to the soapy flavored coconut oil problem is quite straight forward. All edible oils contain low levels of "free fatty acids" (FFA). When coconuts are crushed and shredded enzymes are released that begin attacking the oil and releasing free fatty acids. This reaction requires water. When the manufacturer separates the oil from the water phase of the coconut milk the reaction slows or stops depending on the effectiveness of the separation. The medium chain length fatty acids from coconut oil are more flavorful than the longer chain length ones from soybean, canola, sunflower etc. Unfortunately they taste like soap! Coconut oil is wonderful stuff - very stable to oxidation, clean flavor (if the FFA level is low, which it usually is) and tends to be used by the body for energy rather then being deposited in your arteries and causing heart disease.
The downside is the potential for soapy off flavors. Watch out for applications where you apply both water and heat as you can release soapy flavors.