Walnut oil is the oil extracted from cold-pressing walnuts. It has a strong, nutty scent and is light-coloured. The most common walnuts to produce the oil are the English walnuts. There are differing perspectives of archaeologists about the origin of the walnuts, but the most widely accepted one is that the walnuts first originated in Persia. Due to this fact, it is sometimes also known as Persian oil. Walnut oil is relatively expensive and is not usually used for culinary purposes. However, they have various medicinal properties which have been proven to benefit health.
The most striking property of this oil is that it reduces the risk of coronary heart diseases when consumed. Walnut oil has abundant amounts of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which is a form of Omega-3 fatty acid that can help reduce cholesterol levels. It is also an excellent source for minerals, especially selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium – all of which are important to maintain good health.
This oil is not usually used as a cooking oil, but rather to add taste to cold dishes such as salads, pasta and raw fish. Heating walnut oil will cause it to degrade and cause it to have a bitter, unpleasant taste, therefore making it inappropriate to cook food. It greatly enhances the flavour of the food when used this way due to its distinct, nutty taste.
Other than its rich nutritional content, this nutty oil is used for many other unique purposes. Walnut oil is still used by some people for artistic purposes. This oil was one of the major oils used by Renaissance painters because it dries quickly and does not leave a yellowish tint like other oils do. It is also used by some woodworkers as a finishing oil.
Although walnut oil is not as popular as the other vegetable oils, it stills provide a handful of health benefits nonetheless.