OilBG.jpgOil is a kitchen staple. It is used for cooking, salad dressing, baking, and all other assorted culinary contributions. But do you really know the nitty gritty of your oil of choice?

The different varieties of oils, like olive, sunflower, coconut, and sesame, are further complicated with terms like Extra Virgin, cold pressed, and unrefined. Here we will break down these terms and how they apply to the different types of oil.

Oil Production Processes

Cold Pressed:
This is a process of extracting the oil from a nut, fruit, or seed through grinding and pressing. The temperature cannot rise above 49 degrees Celsius. Cold pressed oils retain more of their aroma, nutrients, and flavor. These oils are also more delicate and should be stored in dark bottles away from heat and light. Cold pressed oils are the most nutrient dense and beneficial for skin care and consumption, but come with a higher price tag.

Virgin/Extra Virgin:
This is a classification which is only standard in the olive oil industry - and it indicates how many times the oil has been pressed. If it is used on other types of oil products, it could be an indicator of the amount of processes the oil has gone through - but this may not be consistent between manufacturers. In terms of Olive Oil - Extra Virgin Olive Oil has been extracted from the first press. Virgin Olive Oil has been extracted from the second press.

Expeller Pressed:
Expeller pressing is a method similar to cold pressing that produces a little more heat. These oils are better choices than refined oils. An expeller press uses only mechanical means to press out the oil. Similar to centrifuge extraction (spinning the product to extract the oil). Both processes don't use any other chemicals or solvents to extract the oil.

Unrefined:
Unrefined oils are extracted through low heat methods (cold or expeller pressed), without any bleaching or deodorizing.

Refined:
This means that the oil has been extracted and/or “purified” by using some type of chemical or high heat process. These processes produce a larger quantity of oil than other methods and therefore refined oils are much cheaper. Oils are refined to filter and remove harmful contaminants, lighten, and/or deodorize the oil. It also results in oil with a longer shelf life, but the process of refining oils degrades the oil, removing its phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Types of Oils:

Olive:
Olive Oil is known for its high concentration of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. It is most popular for cooking, but it is hugely versatile and can be used many different ways, even in skin and hair care! The high content of monounsaturated fats means that olive oil is quite stable when heated - which would explain why it is such a popular choice for cooking. It is a great base for marinades and dressings.

Our favourite Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes from Rosnay.

Coconut:
The oil is extracted from the matured coconut kernel or meat. It is a frequent ingredient in skin care products as well as Asian cooking. It has a high saturated fat content - which means even "oil" products can solidify at room temperatures. Unrefined options will have a strong coconut smell and flavour. It is best used is small amounts - it can be used for cooking, baking, smoothies, desserts, and salad dressings. Treat like butter, and consume in moderation.

As you may already know we have quite an offering in the Coconut department...Banaban, Coconut Magic, Nuigini, Spiral Foods..

Sunflower:
This oil comes from the seeds of the sunflower. It is known as a very healthy oil for consumption, and is popular in skincare products. Sunflower oil is often refined to increase its flash point - meaning it can be heated to a higher temperature for cooking. An unrefined option will preserve the nutritional value. It is used for cooking, and salad dressings.

Available from Melrose.

Sesame:
Made from sesame seeds,  sesame oil is a popular ingredient in Asian cooking. It has a nutty flavour, which can be quite strong. It has quite a high flash point - meaning it can be heated without smoking up to 200 degrees Celcius. This makes it great for cooking. It is also great for sauces, and marinades. 
Toasted sesame oil has been made from sesame seeds that have been toasted before being made into the oil. This makes the flavour much more distinct, but also makes it less suitable for cooking. Best used as a flavouring in marinades, sauces, or salad dressings.

Carwari offer both Extra Virgin and Toasted Sesame Oil.

Hemp:
The new kid on the block! Hemp has recently been approved from consumption in Australia - which means we can explore the benefits of hemp oil as more than just a massage oil! It is rich in both Omega 6 and Omega 3, and low in saturated fats. It has a very low flash point - which means it is not used for cooking. Best used as a base for dressings, dips, and raw sauces.

Available from Hemp Foods Australia.

Avocado:
The oil is known for its cosmetic use because it’s very high skin penetrating and rapid absorbing. Extra virgin avocado oil from the Hass cultivar has a characteristic flavor. It has a high flash point - so quite stable for cooking. Use for frying, sautéing, dipping, and as a salad oil.

From our fried Marco Bobbit of Wodonga Park - fantastic product!

Macadamia:
This nut oil is a definite competitor with olive oil for versatility and is even higher in monounsaturated fats. It has a smooth, buttery flavour, and a high flash point - so it's great for cooking. Use for stir fry's, in baking, in sweet and savoury dishes.

..also from Marco.