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Pressed Oil

Pressed oils are liquid fats that are extracted by pressing seeds, fruits, vegetables, or nuts. These include sesame seeds, canola, coconut, avocado, or olives. Although there are few ways to press such, it can be broken into two main methods: cold or hot. Cold-pressed oils are extracted at room temperature, at around 80ºF, while hot-pressed oils require a much higher temperature. As a result, cold-pressed oils are relatively low in acidity content.

In addition, not only do cold-pressed oils retain most of their physiological and chemical properties, but they also tend to hold onto their original flavor. Thus, since heat destroys most of the nutritional value and natural quality of most products, hot-pressed oils are commonly refined to make up for these losses and to make them more fit for consumption. On the bright side though, exposing seeds or nuts to heat will activate and release their smoky flavor, making hot pressed oil smells and tastes that way.

So, which one is better?

From a health point of view, cold-pressed oil is better. Hot pressed oils undergo the process of oxidation which can cause complications such as inflammation and cancer. And again, most of the nutrients and beneficial compounds are lost during hot pressing. That being said, they’re usually refined to improve their overall quality. Therefore, cold-pressed oil is better because it’s a lot more natural, healthier, beneficial, and low in acid. 

Pressed Oil Trivia

  • Back in the old days, animals were used to operate a Ghani, a mortar and pestle device made of wood or stone to cold-press oils out of seeds.
  • Cold-pressed oils are cholesterol-free! However, they don’t really go well with heat.

Pressed Oil Buying Guide

While you can check out the buying guide for each pressed oil here at our Texas Real Food Promptuary, below are some general tips when buying them.

  • Always check the best-by dates and select the freshest ones.
  • A lot of pressed oils are meant for topical use. So, make sure to double-check if the oil you’re buying is intended for culinary applications.
  • If you’re going to invest or splurge on good quality oils, don’t cook them.
  • Consider the flavor of the oil you’re going to buy.
  • Purchase based on the smoking points of each oil, depending on how you’re going to use it on cooking. I.e. deep frying needs a high smoking point oil.
  • Know that unrefined oils are better than refined oils. And, naturally-refined oils are better than industrially refined oils.
  • Organic oils are better in quality compared to their non-organic counterparts.
  • Buy from trusted retailers who know how to maintain the quality of their products. 

Fat Facts:

Indeed, the misconception that all fats aren’t healthy is long dead and gone. But still, all fats are made of fatty acids that vary in chemical shape. They differ in how they can perform in cooking, as well as how they affect your health. The three types of fatty acids are saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. All fats contain these fats; however, they are classified as the fatty acid that makes up most of the fat. So for example, butter mostly consists of saturated fatty acids. Thus, it’s considered to be saturated fat. Hence, you can always consider the type of fat, in accordance with its benefits, when buying pressed oils.

  • Saturated Fat – Among this type includes butter, shortening, and lard. They’re usually solid at room temperature. This type of fat can increase cholesterol levels and promote heart disease. Thus, it’s best to limit your consumption of such, except for one – Coconut oil. Coconut oil is 90% saturated fat; however, half of it is lauric acid, which is good for your health.
  • Monounsaturated Fat – Among this type includes olive oil and peanut oil. They’re liquid at room temperature; however, they become cloudy or semi-solid when refrigerated. This type of fat can improve cholesterol levels, therefore preventing heart disease.
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – Among this type includes canola, sunflower, grapeseed, sesame, and walnut oil. They’re liquid at any temperature, even when refrigerated. It also improves cholesterol levels, therefore preventing heart disease. But, it’s more noted for its types: omega-3 and omega-6. While both of them are good for your health, omega-3 also has additional inflammatory and heart-health benefits.

Smoking Points of Pressed Oils:

Depending on the purpose of your usage, it’s also helpful to consider the oil’s smoking point prior to purchase. The smoking point is the temperature when the oil starts to smoke and burn. Generally, hot-pressed oils, which commonly refer to refined oils, have a higher smoking point compared to the cold-pressed or unrefined ones. The process of refining oils involves the removal of impurities and free fatty acids that causes the oil to smoke. So technically, the more the oil is refined, the lesser fat it contains, and the higher its smoking point is.

Avocado Oil – Refined: 520ºF; Unrefined: 375ºF

Pecan Oil – Refined: 470ºF; Unrefined: 350ºF

Light Olive Oil – Refined: 465ºF

Peanut Oil – Refined: 450ºF; Unrefined: 320ºF

Corn Oil, Safflower Oil, Sunflower Oil – 450ºF

Coconut Oil – Refined: 450ºF; Unrefined: 350ºF

Vegetable Oil – Refined: 428ºF

Sesame Oil – Refined: 410ºF; Unrefined: 350ºF

Canola Oil – Refined: 400ºF; Unrefined: 225ºF

Olive Oil – Refined: 390-470ºF

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Unrefined: 375-400ºF

Walnut Oil – Refined: 300-350ºF; Unrefined: 320ºF

Pressed Oil Production & Farming in Texas

Large manufacturers in Texas often produce refined oils rather than cold-pressed ones. It’s due to the fact that hot pressing oil yields an average of 37% of the total oil content, versus 35% when cold-pressed. On the contrary, small to medium manufactures, like those you see in farmers’ markets, prefer cold-pressed oil production due to its nutritional health benefits.

Pesticides, additives, and chemicals:

Fortunately, almost all pressed oils in the market do not contain additives and chemicals that are not good for health. Thus, it’s better to focus on the fat content of the product, as it can be more detrimental to the health when consumed past its RDA.

Packaging:

The packaging of pressed oils vary per oil. But, you’ll mostly see them in glass or plastic containers, jars, and bottles. 

Enjoying Pressed Oils

Pressed oils are so versatile that they can easily be incorporated into your diet. Cold-pressed oils are best consumed raw. Drizzle it over salads, cold soups, hummus, or cooked foods like pizza, pasta, or bread. Hot-pressed or refined pressed oils work best when exposed to high heat. Thus, you can drizzle them over vegetables, use it as a marinade for grilling meats, or just simply use it as an oil for stir-fries. 

Storage:

Generally speaking, pressed oils should be placed in sealable containers or jars, preferably glass, and they should be kept in a cool and dark place away from sunlight. You may store them in the pantry or in the fridge. Here’s how long they would typically last for:

Avocado oil – Unopened, it can last for 9-12 months in the pantry and 1 year in the fridge. Once opened, it can last for 6-8 months in the pantry and 9-12 months in the fridge.

Blended oil – Unopened, it can last for 2 years in the pantry. Once opened, it can last for 1 year, regardless if it’s stored in the pantry or in the fridge.

Canola oil – Unopened, it can last for 2 years in the pantry. Once opened, it can last for 1 year, regardless if it’s stored in the pantry or in the fridge.

Corn oil – Unopened or opened, it can last for 1 year in the pantry or fridge. 

Extra Virgin Olive oil – Unopened or opened, it can last for 2-3 years in the pantry or fridge.

Grapeseed oil – Unopened or opened, it can last for 3 months in the pantry and 6 months in the fridge. 

Vegetable oil – Unopened or opened, it can last for 1 year in the pantry or fridge.

Cooking:

Again, cooking pressed oil varies depending on the specific oil you will use. But, it’s good to keep in mind that if you bought an expensive or high-grade pressed oil, it’s best not to expose them to heat. Those oils like EVOO are best for raw applications such as salads, pizzas, pastas, and more. Olive, canola, coconut, sesame, and sunflower oil can all be used in cooking; however, such cold-pressed oils shouldn’t be exposed to high temperatures, and they shouldn’t be used in huge quantities as well. It’s quite tricky to cook with cold-pressed oils because they don’t really mix well with heat, which is the sole reason why they aren’t pressed with heat in the first place. That being said, it’s best to either cook cold-pressed oil in lower temperatures and small amounts or use refined or hot-pressed oil instead.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: varies
  • Carbs: varies
  • Sugar: varies
  • Fiber: varies
  • Protein: varies
  • Fat: varies
  • Saturated Fat: varies

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