Fruit, Nut & Seed Oils 101

October 22, 2012

What are Fruit, Nut, and Seed Oils? Extracted oils from legumes (peanuts), nuts, seeds or fruit seeds, used to create nutritious oils for food preparation and garnish.

How to buy:
Select an oil whose flavor matches the food you will be using it with. Oils that are packaged in dark colored bottles or in tins will last longer. All oils will spoil over time, so buy the quantity that you will use in a reasonable amount of time (up to 3 months).

What to look for on the label:
Check for purity (no dilution with other oils), expiration date, country of origin, and suggested uses.

Almond, hazelnut, macadamia, and walnut, flaxseed, toasted and untoasted sesame seed, avocado, coconut, apricot kernel, and peanut. 

How to use: 
For salads: unrefined avocado oil; hazelnut, almond, extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil; sesame or flaxseed used sparingly, add rich nuttiness. The oil you choose is really based on the taste you desire.
For light sautéing, or in sauces: use virgin unrefined coconut oil, peanut, or dark toasted sesame oils. 
For baking: use apricot kernel oil, virgin unrefined coconut, hazelnut, macadamia, peanut, light untoasted sesame or refined walnut and almond oils. These also work well in sates and roasted dishes. 
For grilling or high-heat frying: peanut oil is the best, or choose refined almond, avocado, sesame, apricot kernel, or unrefined coconut oil - all have high smoking points and considerable flavor. Try a few drops of toasted sesame oil in Asian dishes.

How to store:
Unrefined oils can spoil easily, so refrigerate between use or store in a dark container in a cool dark cupboard - always make sure to purchase in dark containers to ensure fresh at purchase.

Health benefits:
Flaxseed and walnut oils have the highest amounts of omega-3s, essential fatty acids (EFAs). Liquid oils are a source of mono and polyunsaturated fats. Coconuts and their oils have been touted for their many health benefits

Smarter Shopping:
These are luxury oils. A little goes a long way but using the right oils during cooking can determine the health of the meal!