Have you ever seen in the movies where the Greeks would sit and compress olives between two bowls until liquid was produced? The same concept is applied to sunflower seeds when sunflower oil is being made.
Another term for compressing the kernels of the sunflower seed is called cold pressing. Not only is no chemical being used to extract the oils but no heat is present during this cold pressing process. This is the most natural way to get the oil and preserve all of its golden goodness.
Cold pressed sunflower oil is also known as unrefined oil because it hasn’t gone through many procedures to become the consistency we all know it as. The flavour is also more prominent and full. The only downside to getting oil the old fashioned way is that it does not fry food properly because it cannot handle extremely high temperatures.
Chemical extraction is widely used today. Chemicals solvents help the oil to be extracted and thus produce what most of us see on the bottles, namely refined sunflower oil. Because the seeds go under a lot of chemical changes the consistency changes often and causes the oil to constantly be refined into the sunflower oil we know today. The main reason why people started to use chemicals to get the oil is because they noticed that it was more stable under high temperatures during cooking and frying.
The process is relatively simple and easy to do provided you have the correct equipment. Compressing the kernels will be more difficult than one might think because of the amount of force that needs to go into the process. You can also see the difference between naturally extracted and chemically extracted oil. Cold pressed sunflower oil has a bright golden colour that looks richer and denser. If this oil has not been filtered out you will notice cloudiness or bits floating in the liquid.
Sunflower oil that has been extracted through a chemical process looks lighter in colour. The taste is also bland and often you will not be able to smell the oil. There are benefits of both types of extraction methods.
The sunflower oil you choose is up to you as it will depend on what you prefer and what the people you are serving prefer. This cooking oil has benefits regardless of which procedure it has gone through because it all comes from a wholesome sunflower seed.