Oil Comes From Seed?

Yes! Well, much of the oil we use for cooking and baking does! A seed oil is a vegetable oil that is obtained from the seed of a plant rather than the fruit of a plant.

There are many seed oils that are used for a wide variety of purposes. Seed oils are most commonly used for human consumption, however other oils are used in skincare products, for cleaning and preserving furniture, and in many other household and commercial applications.

Here are some of the most commonly consumed oils:

Canola is one of the most commonly-used seed oils. Kiss My Tractor wrote an article about canola in September, 2014. You can read it here.  Canola is the favorite for cooks and bakers because it has a very neutral flavor, has a high smoke point,  and is also low in saturated fats.

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Neon yellow fields of canola growing in China. Photo source

Soybean oil is extracted from the seeds of the soy plant, and is one of the most widely consumed cooking oils. Interestingly, soybean oil is also used as a base for inks and paint, since it dries into a hard, lacquer-like finish. Soybean oil is often sold as plain, old “vegetable oil.” Over 30 million tons of soybean oil are produced worldwide, constituting about half of the world’s edible vegetable oil production, and thirty percent of all fats and oils produced.

Soybean oil has a very high smoke point, making it excellent for cooking requiring high temperatures, like frying. It is higher in saturated fat than canola oil.

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Soybean oil, meal, and whole beans. Photo source

Sunflower oil was first produced in Russia in the 1830’s and the country remains one of the world’s greatest producers of sunflower oil, along with Ukraine and Argentina. Sunflower oil is made by pressing the oil from sunflower seeds, and refining it. While canola and soybean oils have little flavor or color of their own, sunflower oil has a nuttier flavor and is light amber in color.

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A field of sunflowers, whose seeds will be used for oil or roasting and eating. Photo source

This oil is also high in Vitamin E, making it a common ingredient in skin and hair products, as well as an excellent cooking and baking oil. It  is not as shelf-stable as canola or soybean oils, and must be kept in a cool, dark environment to prolong its usable life.

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Sunflower oil. Photo source

Sesame seed was one of the earliest crops to be made into an oil.  Sesame oil is a common ingredient in Asian cooking. It is often darker in color, and has a very distinctive smell and flavor. The oil is high in antioxidants and Vitamin K, making it quite popular among health enthusiasts.

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Sesame seeds that are toasted prior to being pressed give the oil a dark color and strong flavor. Photo source.

Just about any type of seed, nut, or fruit can be made into some type of oil. The oils vary in fat content, flavor, color, heat tolerance, and are used for a huge range of purposes.

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This entry was posted in Ag Production, Education, Feeding the World, For Kids, Oil seed and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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