Peanut Oil: Production, Uses, and Nutritional Content
Peanut oil is a vegetable oil made from peanuts. It’s popular in Asian cuisine, especially Chinese and Thai. It has a high smoke point and neutral flavor, making it perfect for frying.
Peanut oil, also known as groundnut oil or arachis oil, is a mild tasting vegetable oil derived from peanuts. The oil is available in refined, unrefined, cold pressed, and roasted varieties, the latter with a strong peanut flavor and aroma, analogous to sesame oil.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Why Peanut Oil is the Perfect Cooking Oil for Health-Conscious Foodies
- 2 From Plant to Oil: The Fascinating Production Process of Peanut Oil
- 3 The Many Uses of Peanut Oil
- 4 Storing Peanut Oil: Keeping Your Oil Fresh and Flavorful
- 5 What’s Inside Peanut Oil?
- 6 Peanut Oil vs Olive Oil: Which One is Healthier?
- 7 Conclusion
Why Peanut Oil is the Perfect Cooking Oil for Health-Conscious Foodies
- Peanut oil is high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are healthier than saturated and trans fats found in other oils.
- It is naturally low in trans fats, making it a safer option for those concerned about their health.
- Studies have shown that peanut oil can help lower the risk of colon and prostate diseases.
- Peanut oil is also rich in vitamin E, which can help protect the body against damage from free radicals.
How to Store Peanut Oil
- Peanut oil should be stored in a cool, dark place to maintain its freshness and flavor.
- It is best to buy fresh peanut oil from specialty stores or Asian grocery stores.
- Once opened, peanut oil should be stored in a tightly sealed container to prevent exposure to air and particles.
- Refined peanut oil has a longer shelf life than unrefined peanut oil.
How to Use Peanut Oil in Cooking
- Peanut oil has a high smoke point, making it perfect for frying and cooking at high temperatures.
- It is commonly used in Chinese and other Asian cuisines for its mild flavor and resistance to heating.
- Peanut oil can add a unique flavor to dishes when used in place of other oils, such as olive oil.
- It is a popular choice for making homemade salad dressings and marinades.
Refined vs Unrefined Peanut Oil
- Refined peanut oil has a higher smoke point and a milder flavor than unrefined peanut oil.
- Unrefined peanut oil has a stronger flavor and is believed to have more health benefits due to its higher nutrient content.
- Both refined and unrefined peanut oils are readily available in grocery stores and specialty stores.
From Plant to Oil: The Fascinating Production Process of Peanut Oil
The production of peanut oil starts with the crushing of the dried and mature seeds of the arachis plant, also known as peanuts. The seeds are then pressed using mechanical means, such as a revolving barrel, to squeeze out the oil. This process is commonly used in China, India, Nigeria, Myanmar, Sudan, Senegal, Guinea, Argentina, Ghana, Brazil, and the United States.
Extracting the Oil from the Material
After the seeds are crushed and pressed, the solid material is separated from the oil using a processing method called extraction. This method involves the use of a solvent, such as hexane, to dissolve the oil from the solid material. The solvent is then removed, leaving behind the oil.
The Scientific Composition of Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is highly composed of fatty acids, including palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, and arachidic acids. It contains a high percentage of unsaturated fatty acids, making it a good kind of oil for human bodies. It is relatively low in saturated fatty acids, which are known to increase cholesterol levels in the body.
The Clear and Pleasant Fragrance of Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is a light yellow, transparent liquid with a pleasant fragrance. It is a popular edible oil used in cooking and frying due to its high smoke point. It is also used in the cosmetic industry as a carrier oil for essential oils.
The Beneficial Substances in Peanut Oil
Peanut oil contains beneficial substances such as vitamin E, choline, and phytosterols. It is also known for reducing bile and plasma cholesterol levels, making it a healthy option for those with high cholesterol levels. Nowadays, people have easy access to peanut oil in large quantities, making it a popular choice for cooking and frying.
The Business of Peanut Oil Production
The peanut oil industry has developed over the years, with many investors interested in the business due to its low cost of investment and high returns. The cost of production is relatively low, and the oil is in high demand due to its various uses. Peanut oil is also used in the production of wheat germ oil, which is rich in vitamin E and other beneficial substances.
The Many Uses of Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is a versatile cooking oil that has a neutral flavor, making it a great option for a variety of food dishes. Whether you’re frying up some chicken or cooking a stir-fry, peanut oil won’t overpower the other flavors in your dish.
Types and Varieties
There are two main types of peanut oil: refined and unrefined. Refined peanut oil has a higher smoke point and a more neutral flavor, while unrefined peanut oil has a nutty flavor and is best used for lower-temperature cooking. Additionally, there are different varieties of peanut oil, such as roasted or flavored with sesame, that can add a unique flavor to your dishes.
Frying with Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is a popular choice for frying due to its high smoke point and ability to absorb less oil than other oils. This means that your fried foods will come out crispy and delicious without being overly greasy. Some favorite fried foods to cook with peanut oil include french fries, fried chicken, and tempura.
Flavorant for Food Dishes
If you’re looking to add a nutty flavor to your dishes, unrefined peanut oil is a great option. It can be used as a flavorant in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces to add a unique taste to your favorite dishes.
Peanut Oil in the French Cuisine
Peanut oil is a popular cooking oil in French cuisine, particularly in Paris. It is often used for frying and sautéing due to its high smoke point and neutral flavor. In fact, one of the most famous French chefs, Auguste Escoffier, used peanut oil in many of his recipes.
Personal Experience: Using Peanut Oil in a Fryer
I’ve used peanut oil in my home fryer for years, and it always produces delicious results. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way:
- Use a refined peanut oil to avoid any nutty flavor in your fried foods.
- Heat the oil to the recommended temperature before adding your food to ensure even cooking.
- Don’t overcrowd the fryer- cook in small batches for the best results.
- Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove your cooked food from the fryer and let it drain on a paper towel to remove any excess oil.
Storing Peanut Oil: Keeping Your Oil Fresh and Flavorful
When it comes to storing peanut oil, it’s important to consider the quality of the oil you’re working with. Peanut oil is a popular choice for cooking due to its rich, nutty flavor and excellent nutritional content. However, not all peanut oil is created equal, and certain types may be more prone to spoilage than others. To maintain the superior quality of your peanut oil, it’s important to store it properly.
Substitutes for Peanut Oil
While peanut oil is a unique and highly popular choice for cooking, there are certain situations where you may need to consider substitutes. Some of the main reasons for this include:
- Neutral flavor: Peanut oil has a distinct nutty flavor that may not be suitable for certain types of food. In these cases, a neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil may be a better choice.
- High smoke point: While peanut oil has a high smoke point, there are certain types of cooking that require an even higher smoke point. In these cases, consider using extra light olive oil or grapeseed oil instead.
- Low-fat cooking: If you’re looking for a low-fat cooking option, peanut oil may not be the best choice. In these cases, consider using substitutes like applesauce or mashed bananas instead.
Methods for Using Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is a highly versatile oil that can be used in a variety of ways. Some of the most popular uses for peanut oil include:
- Stir-frying: Due to its high smoke point and rich flavor, peanut oil is a popular choice for stir-frying vegetables and other foods.
- Baking: Peanut oil is an excellent choice for baking due to its neutral flavor and ability to maintain the shape of baked goods.
- Providing a rich flavor: Peanut oil is a staple in many types of food due to its rich, nutty flavor. It’s often used in dishes like satay sauce, salad dressings, and marinades.
What’s Inside Peanut Oil?
Peanut oil is a vegetable oil derived from groundnut or arachis. It contains a high percentage of fat, which is why it is often used as a cooking oil. Here are the nutritional values of peanut oil per 1 tablespoon (13.6 grams) based on the USDA FoodData Central:
- Calories: 119
- Total Fat: 13.6 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.4 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.3 g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 6.2 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 0 mg
- Potassium: 0 mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 0 g
- Dietary Fiber: 0 g
- Sugar: 0 g
- Protein: 0 g
Vitamins and Minerals
Peanut oil is also a good source of vitamins and minerals. Here’s a breakdown of the vitamins and minerals found in peanut oil per 1 tablespoon (13.6 grams) based on the USDA FoodData Central:
- Vitamin E: 4.6 mg (24% of the Daily Value)
- Vitamin K: 5.5 μg (7% of the Daily Value)
- Calcium: 0 mg
- Iron: 0 mg
- Magnesium: 0 mg
- Phosphorus: 0 mg
- Potassium: 0 mg
- Sodium: 0 mg
- Zinc: 0 mg
- Copper: 0 mg
Peanut oil is rich in fatty acids, which are essential for the body’s functions. Here’s a breakdown of the fatty acids found in peanut oil per 1 tablespoon (13.6 grams) based on the USDA FoodData Central:
- Saturated Fatty Acids: 2.4 g
- Monounsaturated Fatty Acids: 6.2 g
- Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: 4.3 g
Peanut oil has a high smoke point of 450°F (232°C), which makes it suitable for high-heat cooking methods like frying and sautéing. However, it is important to note that the smoke point can vary depending on the quality and purity of the oil.
Comparison to Other Oils
Compared to other cooking oils, peanut oil has a mild flavor that is not overpowering. Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional values of other common cooking oils per 1 tablespoon (13.6 grams) based on the USDA FoodData Central:
- Canola Oil: 124 calories, 14 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 8 g monounsaturated fat, 4 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 0 mg potassium, 0 g total carbohydrate, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein
- Coconut Oil: 117 calories, 13.6 g total fat, 11.8 g saturated fat, 0.2 g monounsaturated fat, 0.8 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 0 mg potassium, 0 g total carbohydrate, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein
- Corn Oil: 120 calories, 13.6 g total fat, 1.7 g saturated fat, 3.4 g monounsaturated fat, 7.1 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 0 mg potassium, 0 g total carbohydrate, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein
- Olive Oil: 119 calories, 13.5 g total fat, 1.9 g saturated fat, 9.9 g monounsaturated fat, 1.4 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 0 mg potassium, 0 g total carbohydrate, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein
- Soybean Oil: 120 calories, 13.6 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 3.2 g monounsaturated fat, 7.8 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 0 mg potassium, 0 g total carbohydrate, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein
- Shortening: 113 calories, 12.8 g total fat, 3.8 g saturated fat, 5.8 g monounsaturated fat, 2.7 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 0 mg potassium, 0 g total carbohydrate, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein
Peanut oil is a healthy and nutritious option for cooking and frying due to its high smoke point and nutritional properties. It is also a great source of vitamins and minerals, making it a valuable addition to any diet.
Peanut Oil vs Olive Oil: Which One is Healthier?
Saturated fats are not considered healthy for the body, and both peanut oil and olive oil contain them. However, peanut oil contains a higher quantity of saturated fats than olive oil. This means that olive oil is a better option for those who are looking to reduce their saturated fat intake.
Phytosterols, Zinc, and Vitamin E
Peanut oil contains phytosterols, which are plant compounds that can help lower cholesterol levels in the body. It also contains zinc, which is important for immune system function, and vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Olive oil also contains these nutrients, but in smaller quantities.
So there you have it- everything you need to know about peanut oil. It’s a great cooking oil with a mild flavor and a high smoke point, and it’s perfect for frying and cooking Asian dishes. You can also use it to make salad dressings and marinades. So go ahead and give it a try!
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.