Grapeseed oil (grape oil or grape seed oil) is a light-colored oil that is derived from the seeds of grapes, mainly by cold pressing. The seeds obtained for this process is often obtained as byproducts from the winemaking process. Winemaking only requires the flesh of the grapes and the seeds are often filtered out. These seeds are then collected and used to produce grapeseed oil. Although grapes have been traditionally used for many medicinal purposes since ancient times, its oil did not become popular until the 20th century, when demand in the U.S. and Europe began to rise.
A single grape seed contains very little oil and is difficult to extract from its seeds. This is what makes high-quality grapeseed oil relatively expensive compared to other vegetable oils. Because the extraction process is so time consuming, chemicals are most often used to speed up the process, thereby lowering the cost of the end product which consequently creates a large disparity in price between the organic version of the grapeseed oil and the non-organic one. However, the tough exterior helps to protect the precious oils inside the seed from being exposed to pesticides and other chemical agents that are used to grow grapes.
Grape Seed Oil and Baking
Grapeseed oil is highly recommended oil for baking because of its ease of use, healthy properties and its ideal smoke point. When the temperature of the oil reaches and surpasses its smoke point, it will smoke, burn and start to degrade, minimizing any health benefits it can provide. For this reason, it is important to choose oils with a high smoke point – the grapeseed oil in this case. Grapeseed oil has a very light flavor, making it an unobtrusive ingredient to any recipe that can be substituted 1 for 1 for the oil that it is replacing.
Topical Application of Grape Seed Oil
Grape seed oil is very popular and ideal for use in many topical applications such as sunscreens, massage oils and lotions. Studies conducted have shown that grapeseed oil has mild anti-inflammatory effects on damaged skin and can therefore be used on rashes or inflamed areas of the skin. It is also ideal for use on open wounds as it encourages faster healing. Some massage therapists prefer to use it as a lightweight and easygoing oil in place of the more “heavier” oils.
Because of its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, grapeseed oil is a great topical treatment of acne. The high level of linoleic acid can help the skin reduce inflammation and retain moisture, consequently helping to heal and clear up acne-affected spots. It is believed that some biologically active compounds present in the grapeseed oil can inhibit fat storage in certain cells and therefore reduce weight gain.
The wide uses of grape seed oil are a testament to the grape fruit’s long-standing relationship with humanity. We have managed to make use of the vines and leaves of the grapes to cure different ailments. We have made wine from its fruit and medicine from its sap. In the 21st century, we now use oil from its seeds.