No, olive oil is not a seed oil. It's actually a fruit oil derived from the fruit of the olive tree, specifically the flesh and pulp of the fruit.
In this article we explore two of the most popular cooking fats. You'll learn what seed oils are, how they're made, and how they differ from olive oil.
What is seed oil?
Seed oil refers to any type of oil that is extracted from the seeds of various plants. They are often used for cooking, as well as for various industrial and cosmetic purposes.
Some common examples include:
- Sunflower, extracted from the seeds of the lovely sunflower plant. This fat is commonly used for cooking and frying. It's especially popular in restaurants. It's known for its mild flavor. This is a heavily refined cooking fat.
- Sesame, derived from sesame seeds. Like EVOO it's often used as both a cooking and finishing oil because it packs big flavor and can enhance the flavors in many dishes. It extremely popular in Asian cuisines and comes in two main varieties: light (made from raw seeds) and dark (made from toasted seeds), each with distinct flavors.
- Canola, made from the seeds of the canola plant, also known as the rapeseed. It's commonly used for cooking and frying due to its mild flavor. Producing this fat typically requires a chemical extraction, meaning it's a highly refined product. There are many downsides to cooking with this fat. Learn more here.
- Flaxseed, which is also known as linseed oil,. It's rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is often used as a dietary supplement. It is not typically used for cooking.
- Grapeseed, extracted from the seeds of grapes and is a byproduct of wine making. It has a light, neutral flavor and is commonly used for frying and sautéing. When commercially produced it goes through a chemical extraction which is something that consumers should take into consideration.
- Pumpkin Seed, which has a distinctive dark green color and a nutty flavor. It's often used in salad dressings and drizzled over dishes.
- Hemp Seed, derived from the seeds of the hemp plant. This fat is known for its nutritional benefits and is often used as a dietary supplement.
- Chia Seed, which like flaxseed, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is used for its nutritional properties.
- Soybean, one of the most widely used cooking fats and is extracted from soybean seeds.
What is olive oil?
Olive oil is a type of vegetable oil extracted from the fruit of the olive tree. It's a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and widely used for cooking, food preparation, and curing.
It's primarily produced in Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Morocco, and Tunisia. However, thanks to modern farming the plant is now cultivated on nearly every continent.
There are three different qualities which include:
- Extra virgin, the highest quality and least refined.
- Virgin, the second highest quality, somewhat refined.
- Regular, the lowest quality and most refined.
What's the difference between seed oils and olive oil?
While seed oils are extracted from the seeds of various plants, olive oil comes from milling the olives. Olive oil is widely used in cooking, particularly in Mediterranean cuisine, and is known for its distinctive flavor and health benefits.
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