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Plant fats and oils

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One kilogram of canola seeds — the amount in the plastic bag — makes the amount of oil that’s in this flask. The seeds come from pods like the ones in this dried bouquet.

Plant fats and oils are lipid materials derived from plants. Physically, oils are liquid at room temperature, and fats are solid. Chemically, both fats and oils are composed of triglycerides, as contrasted with waxes which lack glycerin in their structure. Although many plant parts may yield oil, in commercial practice, oil is extracted primarily from seeds.

Vegetable fats and oils may or may not be edible. Examples of inedible vegetable fats and oils include processed linseed oil, tung oil, and castor oil used in lubricants, paints, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and other industrial applications.

Cooking oils[edit]

General cooking oils[edit]

Several oils are used as general cooking oils. Note that each specific cooking oil has a specific heat tolerance (high or low smoke point). When choosing a cooking oil, it is important to match the oil's heat tolerance with the cooking method; this due to health reasons.

Oils that are suitable for high-temperature frying (above Template:Convert/°C) are:

Oils suitable for medium-temperature frying (above Template:Convert/°C) include:Template:Citation needed

Speciality cooking oils: nut oils[edit]

Nut oils are generally used in cooking, for their flavor. Most are quite costly, because of the difficulty of extracting the oil.

  • Almond oil, used as an edible oil, but primarily in the manufacture of cosmetics.
  • Beech nut oil, from Fagus sylvatica nuts, is a well-regarded edible oil in Europe, used for salads and cooking.
  • Cashew oil, somewhat comparable to olive oil. May have value for fighting dental cavities.
  • Hazelnut oil, mainly used for its flavor. Also used in skin care, because of its slight astringent nature.
  • Macadamia oil, with a mild nutty flavor and a high smoke point.
  • Mongongo nut oil (or manketti oil), from the seeds of the Schinziophyton rautanenii, a tree which grows in South Africa. High in vitamin E. Also used in skin care.
  • Pecan oil, valued as a food oil, but requiring fresh pecans for good quality oil.
  • Pine nut oil, sold as a gourmet cooking oil
  • Pistachio oil, a strongly flavored oil with a distinctive green color.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

Speciality cooking oils: other oils[edit]

Oils used for biofuel[edit]

A number of oils are used for biofuel (biodiesel and Straight Vegetable Oil) in addition to having other uses. Other oils are used only as biofuel. (ie as ethanol, methanol and butanol)

Although diesel engines were invented, in part, with vegetable oil in mind, diesel fuel is almost exclusively petroleum-based. Vegetable oils are evaluated for use as a biofuel based on:

  1. Suitability as a fuel, based on flash point, energy content, viscosity, combustion products and other factors
  2. Cost, based in part on yield, effort required to grow and harvest, and post-harvest processing cost

Multipurpose oils also used as biofuel[edit]

The oils listed immediately below are all (primarily) used for other purposes – all but tung oil are edible – but have been considered for use as biofuel.

Inedible oils used only or primarily as biofuel[edit]

These oils are extracted from plants that are cultivated solely for producing oil-based biofuel.[note 1] These, plus the major oils described above, have received much more attention as fuel oils than other plant oils.

See also[edit]

  • File:Oil_crops.png; appropriate oil crops in various parts of the world

References[edit]


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