Vegetable oil is one of the most common oils in the market. You can find it in any grocery store and you will see it used in almost everything from salad dressings to baked goods and it is used to cook food. But have you asked yourself how is this oil made?
In this article, we’ll tell you how vegetable oil is made.
The fundamentals of producing vegetable oil
Making vegetable oil is essentially as easy as cracking open some nuts and squeezing out the delicious oil. On the other hand, it is less straightforward to execute such extraction in practice. The most common vegetable in centuries past was olive oil, maybe because it’s so simple to extract. Olives only need to be pressed in order to release their oil, unlike seeds and nuts, which need to go through a refinement process.
Early methods of obtaining vegetable oil likely extracted about 10% of the total oil present in a plant, excluding olive oil. Up to 98 percent of the potential oil can be extracted using modern extraction techniques, making it a much more effective procedure. But what has changed over the years to significantly improve our ability to extract vegetable oil?
Basically, cleaning, pressing, solvent extraction, refining, and packaging are the phases that make up the manufacture of vegetable oil. We have described what each of these stages entails below.
The 4 Process of Making Vegetable Oil
Before being processed into oil, seeds and nuts must be washed and freed of any foreign matter. To maximize the surface area that will be pressed, they will first be deskinned and then ground up by rollers or hammer mills after being run over magnets to remove any metal traces. The nuts and seeds are heated after being broken up to aid in the oil extraction process.
Once everything is ready, pressing may begin. The heated nut/seed meal is fed into a press that builds pressure gradually. Oil is extracted from the meal by pressing it, and it drips out of the press through slots. We can extract some oil from the plants using this technique, but additional solvent extraction is required for the most effective approach.
Steam Extraction Process
To ensure that the most oil is recovered, the majority of oil seeds will be pressed and solvent-treated. In the solvent treatment, the pressed “oil cake” is taken and a solvent is added to dissolve the oil. The oil is then prepared for refinement once the solvent has been distilled.
The oil is refined to remove any remaining flavors, odors, and bitterness after all solvent residues have been eliminated. In the initial stage of refinement, the oil is heated to 85 °C and mixed with an alkaline substance.
The oil is then treated with water or acid to degum it. Gums present in the oil will precipitate, and centrifugal treatment can be used to get rid of any leftovers. After being degummed, the oil will undergo bleaching using a filtration device that can remove colored particles from the oil. Some vegetable oils, like those used in salad dressings, must be served refrigerated.
In these cases, the oil is quickly chilled to a low temperature to “winterize” it. Additionally, the oil goes through a deodorization procedure in which steam is used while frequently adding a little amount of citric acid to eliminate any trace metals that can reduce the oil’s shelf life.
The oil is prepared for packaging once the processing is finished. It is poured into spick-and-span containers for home or business use. The oil is delivered to suppliers once it has been packaged and is prepared to be sold to frying establishments around the nation.