What is cold-pressed oil?
The oils that we use for cooking are extracted from seeds, fruits or vegetables, and even nuts. Cold-pressed oils are extracted from oilseeds like sunflower, canola, coconut, sesame seed or olive without applying heat. If heat is applied, the flavor and the nutritional quality gets degraded. The cold press method involves crushing the seeds or nuts and forcing out the oil through pressure.
What is the process of manufacturing cold-pressed oils?
During olden times, a long cylindrical contraption known as ‘ghani’ was used to extract oil from oilseeds. As per the book A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food by K.T. Achaya, ghani was a mortar and pestle device made of stone or wood. It used a perambulating animal to extract oil under pressure from oil-bearing seeds. This was considered as the simplest method for cold pressing oils out of a seed because it didn’t involve the generation of too much heat. Recently, extraction machines have replaced ghanis that use excessive heat thereby generating high quantities of oil. In such cases, the quality may suffer. Cold-pressed oils are of higher quality because the temperature during the processing does not rise to a level that produces adverse effects on the ingredients. During the pressing process, heat is necessarily released. But the temperature may not exceed 49 °C (120 °F) for the oil to be designated as cold pressed. When oils are extracted in this way, it retains its genuine flavour, aroma, and nutrients.
Difference between cold-pressed oil and refined oil
Refined oil extraction uses high heat and chemical solvents, both of which damage the bio-active compounds responsible for the benefits of the oil. The yield in refined oil is higher. To make refined oil appear attractive, it is processed to remove gums (a thick layer that forms in the oil) and then refine it further with acetic acid, hexane or bleaching soda. Sometimes they also do double-refining process. When external heat of around 200 celsius is applied it destroys all the nutrients.
Cold-pressed oil is the oil extracted in its natural form. Oilseeds are just pressed (crushed) to yield out the oil. The method is just pressing, nothing else. Cold pressed oil in its natural form is very healthy with all-natural nutrients and flavour. Cold pressing is more expensive as it takes longer time and produces lower yields – but it is the safest, most natural extraction method.
Why are cold pressed oils better?
Cold pressed oil is processed at lower temperatures and hence it does not alter the properties of the oil, which contains a higher phenolic and nutrient content than expeller-pressed oil. Cold pressed oils to retain all its flavour, aroma, and nutritional value, making these oils great for cooking and skincare requirements.
Can we heat cold pressed oil?
Cold pressed oil can be used for cooking, ideal for food that is prepared on low/medium heat. Remember, the extraction technique uses minimal heat so that the purpose of retaining the oil’s beneficial properties is served. So, if you use high heat while cooking, the purpose is defied.