Olive oil isn't your only option. From coconut to sesame, learn how to take advantage of the flavor, nutrition, and cooking profiles of the many healthy oils available at your natural foods store.
Confused by all the processing methods and terms? Here's your cheat sheet:
- Expeller-pressed: Oil is mechanically extracted by squeezing nuts, seeds, fruits, legumes, or grains under very high pressure, without using solvents.
- Cold-pressed: Oil is expeller-pressed, but friction is reduced so the temperature is kept below 120 degrees during processing.
- Refined: Tiny particles may remain in extracted oils; to make refined oils, particles are filtered out. Refined oils may also be bleached and deodorized to create a neutral flavor and color.
- Unrefined: Tiny particles remain in the oil, enhancing flavor, aroma, and nutritional value. Because particulate matter lowers an oil’s smoke point, unrefined oils should only be used unheated or for very low-heat applications.
- Heat extraction: Pressed oils may also be heated during the extraction process to break down the material and allow greater quantities of oil to be extracted.
- Chemical extraction: Solvents like hexane are used to break down plant walls and allow oils to be more easily extracted.