Virgin cooking oil......Let's start with the clearing the misconception about virgin cooking oil being new to the market.It has actually been around from ancient times.Industrial revolution shelved the market for it for few decades with the production of its cousin,the refined oil.
Just a brief explanation about the conventional oil extraction .....The oilseed are crushed,pulp is extracted and heated under pressure at a high temperature.The oil being heated at a high temperature of about 220°C virtually loses its nutritional value.
Expeller pressing is the other alternative of oil extraction. A machine called Expeller is used for the process of oil extraction. It's a mechanical process.There is no actual heat used but heat is produced during the mechanical process.The oil extracted contain preservatives to keep up the quality of the oil.Refined oil by this process stay more stable but at the expense of its nutritional values.
Doing justice to the name,cold pressed oil does not involve high temperature.There is no inclusion or generation of heat in the whole process. Ghani,chekku,kolhu are the local names for the method of processing of cold pressed oil.Ghani is a mechanism where a cylindrical contraption with a pestle is used.Oil seeds are placed in ghani,a scooped cylinderical pit and grounded with the pestle,a wooden mortar until oil is extracted.The pestle works up and down the deep pit at a particular angle.The pestle rotates and is eased by an oily lubricant.
Oil extracted by ghani method has a distinct flavour and aroma.The nutritive value is higher when compared to refined oil.The oil is chemical free without preservatives. Hence cold pressed oil has a short life span.
Back in ancient times,from the vegetable materials, juices were extracted from the grinding stones or mortar and pestle.Oilseeds were pressed, powered by animals in the ghani method.This has a reference in Sanskrit literature. Today cold pressed oil extraction is in similar fashion as expeller pressed method.The only difference being the temperature being controlled.In this modern technique temperature control is maintained at about 27°centigrade. Special care is taken to maintain the flavour aroma and the nutritive quality and value.
The oil packing has all kinds of labelling like losorb,blanched,lite,refined......When we set out to shop for oil we may read the labels,but most of us hardly understand and differentiate them.All that is considered is the fact that it's expensive and hence healthy which is a myth.We need to understand that it's gone through a series of process and probably stripped off it's natural nutrients.The refining is purification of oil and in the process depriving it of its protein,vitamin,antioxidants.....Let's be educated about the conventional method and recognise the values from health aspect and switch over to a healthier and nutritious oil.