Sunflower oil: benefits, types and applications

Sunflower oil is the most popular type of vegetable oil in our country due to its availability and useful properties. Today, it is difficult to imagine the kitchen of a modern person without a bottle of oil or even several at once. With its help, we fry pancakes and meat, dress salads, and add to baked goods. And when canning vegetables, sunflower oil is simply irreplaceable.

But how to understand which oil to use in a particular situation and choose a really high-quality oil at an affordable price? Let’s figure it out together.

The first rule for any kitchen, from bachelor to high-end, is to always have two types of sunflower oil on hand: unrefined and refined. Their main difference is the degree of purification.

Unrefined oil

It is considered more useful, as it is produced by mechanical pressing followed by simple filtration. This allows you to preserve vitamins, trace elements, the smell and taste of the seeds. Therefore, it is perfect for dressing salads, giving them a special taste and aroma.

But you can’t fry with such oil! It is only necessary to pour unrefined oil on a heated pan, it will start to burn and smoke. At the same time, its oxidation and the release of carcinogens – dangerous substances capable of causing tumor processes – occur. The prepared dish will be not only tasteless, but also dangerous for health.

It is better to buy unrefined oil from proven manufacturers. So you will be sure that it has passed the necessary stages of cleaning and is suitable for use. Homemade oil, bought “from hands” can be dangerous for health. The seeds from which it is produced are not tested for the content of pesticides, heavy metals and benzapyrene, and it does not undergo additional stages of purification.

Refined oil

Made from unrefined oil by carrying out a full cycle of purification. At the same time, it contains a small amount of vitamins A, E and K. Refined oil does not emit carcinogens and behaves perfectly in the oven and in a pan – it does not smoke and does not foam when frying. This oil has a neutral taste and smell. And this is one of its main advantages – it does not disturb the flavor bouquet of the ingredients in the dish.

A few rules for a successful purchase of sunflower oil

1. When choosing sunflower oil, pay attention to the place where it is stored. The darker the showcase on which the oil stands, the better. Under the influence of any light, the composition of the oil quickly deteriorates, and it loses its useful properties. Do not hesitate to look into the depth of the shelf: this way there will be more chances to buy an “unlit” product.

2. Pay attention to the purity of the product. Cloudy oil is a sign of spoilage. At the same time, you should not be afraid of a small sediment in unrefined oil – these are phospholipids that are useful for the body.

3. Rate the color of the product. A good, light-colored refined oil. It is believed that the lighter the refined oil, the better it is purified. Unrefined sunflower oil has a darker color, and in this case it becomes difficult to determine the quality of the product by eye.

4. Look carefully at the expiration date. The closer the oil is to the expiration date, the higher its peroxide value, which affects the oxidation of the product. Oil with a high peroxide value quickly loses its freshness and acquires a rancid taste.

5. Try to buy oil in large stores where all storage conditions are observed. High temperature in the warehouse or prolonged exposure to light, including under artificial lighting, shortens the shelf life of the oil in relation to the term declared by the manufacturer.

How to store oil at home?

So, how to keep the oil fresh for as long as possible? All oils like dark, dry and cool, but not cold places. Subcooling will not contribute to the preservation of useful substances contained in the oil. The optimal storage temperature for sunflower oil is from +5 to +20 °C.

The best solution for storing oil is a closed cabinet, preferably a lower one (because the lower it is, the cooler it is) and not too close to the stove. It is not recommended to store spices and seasonings next to oil, as it has the property of absorbing odors.