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What Is Grapeseed Oil?

Grapeseed oil is a byproduct of the process of making wine. Characterized by a nutty flavor and a pale color, this oil is extracted from the seeds of grapes, which are usually thrown away However, this traditional “waste” product has been recognized as a very beneficial resource and a potentially profitable sideline. By the turn of the 20th century, both Europe and the United States started processing grapeseed oil and selling it to industries and even to consumers.

The production of grapeseed oil was originally dismissed as “cost inefficient” because only a small amount of oil could be extracted from the seeds. However, people found a way to extract it chemically, which speeded up the process but did affect the flavor of the oil. This did mean that grapeseed oil could be sold at a lower price, making it an affordable and healthy alternative to more expensive oils. Grapeseed oil is polyunsatured and is rich in linoleic acid.

Grapeseed oil is used in the cosmetic industry to make massage oil and skin creams, including sunscreens and moisturizers. “Food grade” oil can be used in cooking (be sure to check this—otherwise, it could contain chemicals that were used to stabilize the compound but may be harmful to ingest). To prevent it from going rancid, it should be placed in a cool and dark area, or for longer storage, the refrigerator.

For frying food, grapeseed oil is better than olive oil because it has a high smoking point. It can also be used in making salad dressings, sauces and even mayonnaise. It has a very subtle flavor and does not conflict with stronger spices or ingredients; it can also be flavored with herbs and peppers.

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