Grapes have seduced humans for centuries with their fabled red and white nectars. But they have another aspect too: When pressed, tiny grapeseeds yield green-colored oil with remarkable properties. Grapeseed oil has a light flavor and contains a high level of polyunsaturated fat. It can also be heated up to 485°F, making it the ideal healthy cooking partner.
The kitchen is where grapeseed oil comes into its prime. With a smoke point of 485°F, the oil is easy to use in cooking and will make burnt oil a thing of the past. The nutty flavor works well in vinaigrettes with any type of vinegar, never overwhelming the other ingredients. Grapeseed oil is also commonly blended with more intensely flavored oils. Another fact to keep in mind is that grapeseed oil is an excellent substitute for butter or canola oil.
As one of the richest natural sources of linoleic acid, grapeseed oil can do wonders when it comes to fighting heart disease and bad cholesterol. Linoleic acid is a member of the polyunsaturated fatty acid family. These fatty acids tend to blend with cholesterol in the blood and transform it into something the body knows how to get rid of. Grapeseed oil is also used in skin products, aromatherapy and cosmetics.
Wine production is a cherished tradition in France, Italy, Spain, California, Chile and now all over the world. There are events commemorating the annual harvest and every step in the winemaking process. Lost in all the commotion, however, is a little secret: Once they have finished making their wine, the winemakers gather all the seeds, dry them and bring them to their local oil mill. There, a somewhat arduous process begins. Since the seeds are so tiny and abrasive, powerful machines are required to crush them. The process is very time-consuming since the seeds contain less than 10% oil. Imagine the vast quantity of seeds needed to produce one drum of oil!