Wednesday, April 15, 2009

grapeseed oil

Karen just asked, "What is grapeseed oil? I've seen it in numerous recipes and the cheap, or shall I say frugal, side of me won't let me purchase it until I know I'll use it"

Well, I'm so glad you asked. Grapeseed oil is pressed from the seeds of lots of different varieties of grapes. It is used for used for salad dressings, marinades, cooking, frying, baking, as a massage oil or sunburn lotion, and has a number of other applications. It has a fairly high smoke point which makes it an excellent choice for frying but many people like it most for sauteeing or as a salad oil because of it's delicate, somewhat neutral, flavor.

It is a high linoleic acid oil (73%), meaning it contains a lot of omega-6 essential fatty acids. Most of us actually consume too many omega-6's in our diet but used in moderation grapeseed oil is fine. It does have some other health benefits; a study published by the University of California, Davis in 2006 found that it reduced blood pressure in people with metabolic syndrome. In the study patients were given a placebo, 150 mg or 300 mg of grapeseed oil. Those taking the grapeseed oil had a beneficial result and those on the larger dose also experienced a drop in LDL cholesterol. Further studies are underway at the University to see if there is a benefit in patients with hypertension.

Although grapeseed oil is more expensive that most oils, unless you are planning to deep fry with it a little goes a long way. As with other oils, please purchase cold pressed as this is the best, least damaging process by which to extract the oils, and purchase organic, if you can, to ensure no pesticide contamination.

1 comment:

Maia J. Lagerstedt, CHHC said...

What great information. Grapeseed oil is on the pricier side compared to some other oils, but it's so versatile and you're right--a little does go a long way, making it a good choice for the health-minded and frugal shopper. Thanks for the reminder!