Grapeseed, Walnut, and Sesame 101

March 18, 2013

Curious about some of the alternative oils out there? Read on...

What are grapeseed, walnut and sesame seed oils?
Grapeseed oil is a byproduct of winemaking and comes from grape seeds; walnut oil is extracted from walnuts; sesame seed oil is extracted from the sesame seed.

How to Buy:
Walnut and grapeseed oils come in cans or bottles, sesame seed oil in bottles. Sesame oils are available toasted and plain; toasted offers a deeper, richer flavor. Buy walnut and sesame oils in small quantities; grapeseed oil has a longer shelf life, so larger sizes will provide stability in flavor and quality. Of the three, walnut oil is more expensive and has the shortest shelf life.

How to Use:
Walnut oil is best used as finishing oil on salads, pasta or in dessert; it has a pronounced nutty taste. Sesame seed oil is an excellent “finishing” oil to use as a condiment, particularly in Asian recipes, and both sesame and grapeseed oil can be used to lightly sauté foods (but other oils such as olive oil, and even butter from grass fed animals is preferred). Grapeseed is very light in flavor and good in salads, sauces, and salsas; walnut oil and toasted sesame are intensely flavored, so use sparingly and to finish a salad, or grain dish.

How to Store:
As with any oils, avoid heat or light; keep in a cool dark cupboard. Walnut and sesame oils may be refrigerated and may cloud, but that does not impact flavor or quality. Store walnut oil up to three months; sesame oil up to six months; grapeseed oil up to 1 year.

Health Benefits:
All three contains Vitamin E, flavonoids, linoleic acid, antioxidants, and omega-e and omega-6, particularly walnut oil. All oils are 100 percent fat and vary in the type of fat. These three are polyunsaturated oils with no cholesterol as all are plant based.

Smarter Shopping:
Check ethnic markets or Asian food aisles for sesame seed oils; Armenian and Middle Eastern food aisles for grapeseed oils; gourmet aisles for walnut oil for best variety and price.