Cooking with Cottonseed Oil
Cottonseed oil is America’s original healthy vegetable cooking oil. The national attention placed on diet and health has food industry professionals, reacting to consumer demands, expressing a renewed interest in the benefits of this historic American product. Add to this a growing demand for ethnic cuisines and you’ve got a booming curiosity fueling the desire to try new foods and recipes.
Cotton is grown commercially in the United States from Virginia to California. It can be found in fields as far north as the southern portion of Kansas. By its very nature, the cotton plan produces far more seed than fiber; in fact, it produces about twice as much seed. It should come as no surprise that people have been discovering commercial uses for cottonseed as early as the latter 18th century. It wasn’t until the end of the 1860s that a viable method for the commercial extraction of cottonseed oil was invented. Since then, however, there has been a steady demand for cottonseed oil. The production of cottonseed oil in the United States tops 1 billion pounds of oil annually. The U.S. exports up to one-fourth of that.
Like other seeds that produce oil, such as sunflower seeds, the cottonseed has an oil bearing kernel surrounded by a hard outer hull. The oil is pressed out of the kernel to extract it. And like all vegetable oils, cottonseed oil is cholesterol free.
The growing of cotton and the production of cottonseed oil must meet all of the stringent and thorough government regulations and requirements for food crops and processing. Cottonseed oil undergoes a refining and deodorizing procedure as it is processed, making it one of the purest food products available. It is one of the few foods that can maintain nutritional quality through these purification and refining processes.
Tips for cooking with cottonseed oil
The sheer number of recipes in which cottonseed oil can be used is amazing. While it isn’t by any means a complete list, one of the largest and most comprehensive recipe lists for cottonseed oil that we’ve seen can be found at Acala Farms website.
We’ve got a few tips on how to make your cooking with cottonseed oil the best experience it can be:
1. Temp too hot. The temperature of the oil should not exceed 380ºF (193ºC) during frying. An ideal temperature of 360ºF (182ºC) should be maintained.
2. Temp too cold. However, if the temperature is too low, you’ll get an oily texture or greasy taste to the food. Avoid placing large quantities of cold foods into the heated oil at one time.
3. Avoid copper. Like all other fats and oils, cottonseed oil and copper do not mix well. You should avoid using copper utensils, even avoiding a thermometer with copper components or a copper scrubber to clean the cooker. Even the tiniest particles of copper will accelerate the oil’s deterioration.
4. Skim the oil. Be sure to skim the oil frequently to remove food particles. Failure to take this step will see the oil turning dark and it may develop a bitter taste. The presence of food particles will also make it deteriorate faster.
5. Storage. Store your cottonseed oil in a tightly sealed container. You’ll need to keep it in a cool, dark location. If the oil becomes cloudy, don’t worry; that will clear up when the oil is warmed. If you need to store it longer than a couple of months, consider shortening.