Edible Oils

Major oils

These oils make up a significant fraction of worldwide edible oil production. All are also used as fuel oils.

  • Coconut oil, a cooking oil, with medical and industrial applications as well. Extracted from the kernel or meat of the fruit of the coconut palm. Common in the tropics, and unusual in composition, with medium chain fatty acids , Vegetable Oil one of the principal oils sold as salad and cooking oil.
  • Cottonseed oil, used as a salad and cooking oil, both domestically and industrially.
  • Olive oil, used in cooking, cosmetics,soaps, and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps.
  • Palm oil, the most widely produced tropical Popular in West African and Brazilian cuisine. Also used to make biofuel.
  • Peanut oil(Ground nut oil), a clear oil with some applications as a salad dressing, and, due to its high smoke point, especially used for frying.
  • Rapeseed oil, including Canola oil, one of the most widely used cooking oils.
  • Safflower oil, until the 1960’s used in the paint industry, now mostly as a cooking oil.
  • Sesame oil, cold pressed as light cooking oil, hot pressed for a darker and stronger flavor.
  • Soybean oil, produced as a byproduct of processing soy meal.
  • Sunflower oil, a common cooking oil, also used to make biodiesel.

Nut oils

Nut oils are generally used in cooking, for their flavor. Most are quite costly, because of the difficulty of extracting the oil.

  • Almond oil, used as an edible oil, but primarily in the manufacture of cosmetics.
  • Beechnut oil, from Fagus sylvatica nuts, is a well-regarded edible oil in Europe, used for salads and cooking.
  • Brazil nut oil contains 75% unsaturated fatty acids composed mainly of oleic and linolenic acids, as well as the phytosterol, beta-sitosterol, and fat-soluble vitamin E.  Extra virgin oil can be obtained during the first pressing of the nuts, possibly for use as a substitute for olive oil due to its mild, pleasant flavor.
  • Cashew oil, somewhat comparable to olive oil. May have value for fighting dental cavities.
  • Hazelnut oil, mainly used for its flavor. Also used in skin care, because of its slight astringent
  • Macadamia oil, with a mild nutty flavor and a high smoke point.
  • Mongongo nutoil (or manketti oil), from the seeds of the Schinziophyton rautanenii, a tree which grows in South Africa. High in vitamin E. Also used in skin care.
  • Pecan oil, valued as a food oil, but requiring fresh pecans for good quality oil.
  • Pine nut oil, sold as a gourmet cooking oil, and of potential medicinal interest as an appetite suppressant.
  • Pistachio oil, a strongly flavored oil with a distinctive green color.
  • Walnut oil, used for its flavor, also used by Renaissance painters in oil paints.

Citrus oils

A number of citrus plants yield pressed oils. Some, such as lemon and orange oil, are used as essential oils, which is uncommon for pressed oils. The seeds of many if not most members of the citrus family yield usable oils.

  • Grapefruit seed oil, extracted from the seeds of grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi). Grapefruit seed oil was extracted experimentally in 1930 and was shown to be suitable for making soap.
  • Lemon oil, similar in fragrance to the fruit. One of a small number of cold pressed essential oils.  Used as a flavoring agent and in aromatherapy.
  • Orange oil, like lemon oil, cold pressed rather than distilled.  Consists of 90% d-Limonene. Used as a fragrance, in cleaning products and in flavoring foods.

The fruit of the sea-buckhorn 

Oils from melon and gourd seeds

Watermelon seed oil, extracted from the seeds of Citrullus vulgaris, is used in cooking in West Africa.

Members of the Cucurbitaceae include gourds, melons, pumpkins, and squashes. Seeds from these plants are noted for their oil content, but little information is available on methods of extracting the oil. In most cases, the plants are grown as food, with dietary use of the oils as a byproduct of using the seeds as food.[43]

  • Bitter gourd oil, from the seeds ofMomordica charantia. High in α-Eleostearic acid. Of current research interest for its potential anti-carcinogenic properties.
  • Bottle gourd oil, extracted from the seeds of theLagenaria siceraria, widely grown in tropical regions. Used as an edible oil.
  • Buffalo gourd oil, from the seeds of theCucurbita foetidissima, a vine with a rank odor, native to southwest North America.
  • Butternut squash seed oil, from the seeds of Cucurbita moschata, has a nutty flavor that is used for salad dressings, marinades, and sautéeing.
  • Egusi seed oil, from the seeds of Cucumeropsis mannii naudin, is particularly rich in linoleic acid.
  • Pumpkin seed oil, a specialty cooking oil, produced in Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. Used mostly in salad dressings.
  • Watermelon seed oil, pressed from the seeds of Citrullus vulgaris. Traditionally used in cooking in West Africa.

Food supplements

A number of oils are used as food supplements (or “nutraceuticals”), for their nutrient content or purported medicinal effect. Borage seed oil, blackcurrant seed oil, and evening primrose oil all have a significant amount of gamma-Linolenic acid (GLA) (about 23%, 15–20% and 7–10%, respectively), and it is this that has drawn the interest of researchers.

  • Açaí oil, from the fruit of several species of the Açaí palm (Euterpe) grown in the Amazon
  • Black seed oil, pressed from Nigella sativa seeds, has a long history of medicinal use, including in ancient Greek, Asian, and Islamic medicine, as well as being a topic of current medical research.
  • Blackcurrant seed oil, from the seeds ofRibes nigrum, used as a food supplement. High in gamma-Linolenic, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Borage seed oil, from the seeds ofBorago officinalis.
  • Evening primrose oil, from the seeds of Oenothera biennis, the most important plant source of gamma-Linolenic acid, particularly because it does not contain alpha-Linolenic acid.
  • Flaxseed oil (called linseed oil when used as a drying oil), from the seeds of Linum usitatissimum. High in omega-3 and lignans, which can be used medicinally. A good dietary equivalent to fish oil. Easily turns rancid. 

Other edible oils

  • Amaranth oil, from the seeds of grainamaranth species, including Amaranthus cruentus and Amaranthus hypochondriacus, high in squalene and unsaturated fatty acids.
  • Apricot oil, similar to almond oil, which it resembles. Used in cosmetics.
  • Apple seed oil, high in linoleic acid.
  • Argan oil, from the seeds of the Argania spinosa, is a food oil from Morocco developed through a women’s cooperative founded in the 1990s, that has also attracted recent attention in Europe.
  • Avocado oil, an edible oil used primarily in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical Industry.  Unusually high smoke point of 510 °F.
  • Babassu oil, from the seeds of the Attalea speciosa, is similar to, and used as a substitute for, coconut oil.
  • Ben oil, extracted from the seeds of the Moringa oleifera. High in behenic acid. Extremely stable edible oil. Also suitable for biofuel.
  • Borneo tallow nut oil, extracted from the fruit of species of genus Shorea. Used as a substitute for cocoa butter, and to make soap, candles, cosmetics and medicines in places where the tree is common.
  • Cape chestnut oil, also called yangu oil, is a popular oil in Africa for skin care.
  • Carob pod oil(Algaroba oil), from carob, with an exceptionally high essential fatty acid
  • Cocoa butter, from the cacao plant, is used in the manufacture of chocolate, as well as in some ointments and cosmetics; sometimes known as theobroma oil
  • Cocklebur oil, from species of genus Xanthium, with similar properties to poppyseed oil, similar in taste and smell to sunflower oil.
  • Cohune oil, from the Attalea cohune (cohune palm) used as a lubricant, for cooking, soapmaking and as a lamp oil.
  • Coriander seed oil, from coriander seeds, used in a wide variety of flavoring applications, including gin and seasoning  Recent research has shown promise for use in killing food-borne bacteria, such as E. coli.
  • Date seed oil, extracted from date.   Its low extraction rate and lack of other distinguishing characteristics make it an unlikely candidate for major use.
  • Dika oil, from Irvingia gabonensis seeds, native to West Africa. Used to make margarine, soap and pharmaceuticals, where is it being examined as a tablet lubricant. Largely underdeveloped.
  • False flax oil made of the seeds of Camelina sativa. One of the earliest oil crops, dating back to the 6th millennium B.C. Produced in modern times in Central and Eastern Europe; fell out of production in the 1940s. Considered promising as a food or fuel oil.
  • Grape seed oil, a cooking and salad oil, also sprayed on raisins to help them retain their flavor.
  • Hemp oil, a high quality food oil also used to make paints, varnishes, resins and soft soaps.
  • Kapok seed oil, from the seeds of Ceiba pentandra, used as an edible oil, and in soap production.
  • Kenaf seed oil, from the seeds of Hibiscus cannabinus. An edible oil similar to cottonseed oil, with a long history of use.
  • Lallemantia oil, from the seeds of Lallemantia iberica, discovered at archaeological sites in northern Greece.
  • Mafura oil, extracted from the seeds of Trichilia emetica. Used as an edible oil in Ethiopia. Mafura butter, extracted as part of the same process when extracting the oil, is not edible, and is used in soap and candle making, as a body ointment, as fuel, and medicinally.
  • Marula oil, extracted from the kernel of Sclerocarya birrea. Used as an edible oil with a light, nutty flavor. Also used in soaps. Fatty acid composition is similar to that of olive oil.
  • Meadowfoam seed oil, highly stable oil, with over 98% long-chain fatty acids. Competes with rapeseed oil for industrial applications.
  • Mustard oil(pressed), used in India as a cooking oil. Also used as a massage
  • Niger seed oil is obtained from the edible seeds of the Niger plant, which belongs to the Asteraceae family and of the Guizotia  The botanical name of the plant is Guizotia abyssinica. Cultivation for the plant originated in the Ethiopian highlands, and has since spread from Malawi to India.
  • Nutmeg butter, extracted by expression from the fruit of cogeners of genus Myristica. Nutmeg butter has a large amount of trimyristin. Nutmeg oil, by contrast, is an essential oil, extracted by steam distillation.
  • Okra seed oil, from Abelmoschus esculentus. Composed predominantly of oleic and linoleic acids. The greenish yellow edible oil has a pleasant taste and odor.
  • Papaya seed oil, high in omega-3 and omega-6, similar in composition to olive oil. Not to be confused with papaya oil produced by maceration.
  • Perilla seed oil, high inomega-3 fatty acids. Used as an edible oil, for medicinal purposes in Asian herbal medicine, in skin care products and as a drying oil.
  • Persimmon seed oil, extracted from the seeds of Diospyros virginiana. Dark, reddish brown color, similar in taste to olive oil. Nearly equal content of oleic and linoleic acids.
  • Pequi oil, extracted from the seeds of Caryocar brasiliense. Used in Brazil as a highly prized cooking oil.
  • Pili nut oil, extracted from the seeds of Canarium ovatum. Used in the Philippines as an edible oil, as well as for a lamp oil.
  • Pomegranate seed oil, from Punica granatum seeds, is very high in punicic acid (which takes its name from pomegranates). A topic of current medical research for treating and preventing cancer.
  • Poppyseed oil, long used for cooking, in paints, varnishes, and soaps.
  • Pracaxi oil, extracted from the seeds of Pentaclethra macroloba. Similar to peanut oil, but has a high concentration of behenic acid (19%).

Virgin pracaxi oil

  • Prune kernel oil, marketed as a gourmet cooking oil Similar in composition to peach kernel oil.
  • Quinoa oil, similar in composition and use to corn oil.
  • Ramtil oil, pressed from the seeds of the one of several species of genus Guizotia abyssinica (Niger pea) in India and Ethiopia.
  • Rice bran oil is a highly stable cooking and salad oil, suitable for high-temperature cooking. It also has potential as a biofuel.
  • Royle oil, pressed from the seeds of Prinsepia utilis, a wild, edible oil shrub that grows in the higher Himalayas. Used medicinally in Nepal.
  • Sacha inchi oil, from thePeruvian Amazon. High in behenic, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Sapote oil, used as a cooking oil in Guatemala.
  • Seje oil, from the seeds of Jessenia bataua. Used in South America as an edible oil, similar to olive oil, as well as for soaps and in the cosmetics
  • Shea butter, much of which is produced by poor, African women. Used primarily in skin care products and as a substitute for cocoa butter in confections and cosmetics.
  • Taramira oil, from the seeds of the arugula (Eruca sativa), grown in West Asia and Northern India. Used as a (pungent) edible oil after aging to remove acridity.
  • Tea seed oil(Camellia oil), widely used in southern China as a cooking oil. Also used in making soaps, hair oils and a variety of other products.
  • Thistle oil, pressed from the seeds ofSilybum marianum. A good potential source of special fatty acids, carotenoids, tocopherols, phenol compounds and natural anti-oxidants, as well as for generally improving the nutritional value of foods.
  • Tigernut oil (or nut-sedge oil) is pressed from the tuber of Cyperus esculentus. It has properties similar to soybean, sunflower and rapeseed oils. It is used in cooking and making soap and has potential as a biodiesel fuel.
  • Tobacco seed oil, from the seeds of Nicotiana tabacum and other Nicotiana  Edible if purified.
  • Tomato seed oil is a potentially valuable by-product, as a cooking oil, from the waste seeds generated from processing tomatoes.
  • Wheat germ oil, used nutritionally and in cosmetic preparations, high in vitamin E and octacosanol.



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