Edible Oil and Processing

Edible Oil and Processing

Edible Oils – An Overview

Edible oil is a type of oil that is often used in foodstuffs. Like any oil, edible oils are hydrophobic, nonpolar, and liquid at room temperature. The food industry heavily relies on edible oils due to their various industrial and commercial purposes. Some of the most popular edible oils on the market include soybean oil, olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil, and cannabis oil.

Edible Oil Extraction

To become edible oils, oilseeds must go through a variety of refinery steps and methods. At its core, edible oil extraction aims to separate fatty liquids from oilseeds. Some of the most important steps to refine oilseeds in becoming consumer edible oils are as follows…

  • Oilseed Preparation
    • Edible oil extraction aims to extract oil from seeds, but the seed must be prepared for this process to be effective. Some pre-processing methods include conditioning, dehulling, cracking, and flaking. These steps help to clean and flatten the seeds in a way that makes upcoming extracting methods go by smoother.
  • Mechanical Processing
    • In mechanical processing, a screw/expeller press is used to aid in extraction. Specifically, the oil is squeezed out of the oilseed as the press pushes the seeds against slots that help to separate solid from liquid. Mechanical processing is a good extraction option for plants and seeds that have a higher oil content.
  • Solvent Extraction 
    • Solvents serve as an extractant, with chemical properties that react with lipids in a way that allows for dissolution and separation. Fats from edible oils are soluble in solvents in such a way that can lead more oil to be removed than simply what is seen through a screw press method. Additionally, less energy is required in solvent extraction compared to the mechanical processing method. For edible oil extraction, food-grade solvents will be used, which means that the solvent will not be a hazard in contacting food products. Solvent extraction is a good option in general, but especially for products with lower oil content.
  • Post-Extraction Steps
    • Even after edible oils have been extracted, they still may need to be refined, bleached, and deodorized. In some cases, the oils need to be more stabilized and filtered so that specific products can be formed, and refining is the step to take here. Bleaching will allow the oil’s color to change, a step that is not always ideal in solvent extraction but may be desired to create certain products. Deodorizing occurs if the end-product oil is desired to be flavorless or odorless, something that solvent extraction tries to avoid but end products may desire.

In the Market for Edible Oil Solvents?

Extraction Grade Solvents offers a variety of edible oil solvents in bulk to use for all of your edible oil extraction needs. We have various solvents in stock, including butanol, methanol, and acetone. Shop with us today!