Vegetable oils (or sometimes vegetable fats) — are so-called substances extracted from sunflower seeds, rapeseeds, soybeans and other kinds of seeds.
Vegetable oils also include fats extracted from parts of fruits, like olives or cocoa beans. Most types of vegetable oils are edible and used in the food industry. They are also used for cosmetics manufacturing, as fuel, and in other areas. For example, Japanese company Yokohama Rubber Co. uses orange oil for tire production, and french company Michelin uses sunflower oil for the same purpose.
Vegetable oils are characterized by consistency. They can be hard (cocoa butter, coconut oil) and soft (peanut, olive, corn, soy, flaxseed, palm, sunflower or rapeseed). For the production of vegetable oils two methods are used: mechanical pressing and solvent extraction. And the seeds must first be cleaned of the shell.
History of vegetable oils production began in the ancient world. No one knows exactly when people extracted fats from plants for the first time (and what kind of plants its was). But it happened many millennia ago. Some archaeological evidence shows that people used vegetable oils by 6000 BC. In these ancient times this fats actively applied not only for food but like fuel for lamps and probably for lubrication.
Today vegetable oils are very important products. It is interesting that the technology of their production has not changed very much over the past few decades. Yes, we are using very complex aggregates now. But the basic principles of production remained almost unchanged.
One of the most commonly used vegetable fat is sunflower oil. This is one of the most important vegetable oils of great economic importance. It is mainly used in the food industry but it is also actively utilized in other areas of human activity (for example we have mentioned above about Michelin). Sunflower oil is an important source of fat-soluble vitamin E, which is extremely beneficial for health. This oil can be two types — refined and unrefined. Both of these types differ in the manufacturing method, taste, and purpose. Unrefined oil is more suitable for salads, and refined oil for frying.
But the most used vegetable oil is palm oil. That’s because palm oil is the highest yielding crop that is capable of producing about 4 tons of oil per hectare per year. Next, come сoconut oil and canola oil — 1,4 tons of oil per hectare per year. In the case of sunflower oil, the yield is 0,6 tons per hectare per year. However, despite the fact that the yield of sunflower oil lower than сoconut oil and canola oil, it is produced in much larger quantities. First place by production is held by palm oil, second and third — oils from soybean and rapeseed. Then followed oils from sunflower seed, peanut, cottonseed, coconut, olive, and corn.
You can also find on sale specific types of oils such as hazelnut oil, sesame oil, brazil nut oil, buriti oil, pracaxi oil, and many others. They are used for culinary, cosmetics, medicines, and as incense. But these types of oils are produced in much smaller quantities.