Imagine you are at the supermarket trying to grab a few ingredients before having company over for dinner. One of the ingredients you are looking for is oil. You find yourself in the baking aisle looking at a variety of choices with the words "expeller-pressed" and "cold-pressed" on the packaging. At this point, you may be wondering which one to choose and why they are marketed at different price points.
There are a few differences in the oil extraction process that makes expeller-pressed oils unique from others.
What Does Expeller-Pressed Mean?
Expeller-pressed oil is an oil that has been extracted with a screw press. A screw press, or expeller press, is a machine that presses nuts and seeds through a cavity and uses intense pressure and friction to extract oil.
There is no heat added during this extraction process, as heat is already created through the friction that occurs when the seeds are pressed. Oils are then removed from the seeds.
Expeller-pressed oil requires a significant amount of seeds or nuts to create a high yield, which means that this type of oil usually costs more than other varieties.
The Differences Between Expeller-Pressed, Cold-Pressed and Solvent Expelled Oil
Oils are produced in many different ways, and these processes are not always clearly marked. Sometimes the descriptors are in abbreviated form, and they may or may not be in the title of the product. Other times, they are only included in the description on the spec sheet.
We will refer to canola oil when explaining these processes because it is one of the oils commonly expelled in all three ways. However, similar processes are used for many different types of oils, including olive oil and seed oil varieties.
1. Expeller-Pressed Process
Rather than using chemicals, expeller pressing uses a press to physically force the oil out of the seed. There is no chance of experiencing leftover hexane residue because no solvents are used in the expeller-pressed process.
An expeller press is a machine that squeezes oil through a cavity, using continuous pressure and friction. Expeller pressing extracts about 87 to 95% of the oil out of the seed, so some oil is left over after the pressing process is completed.
Expeller-pressed oil is commonly refined using this same process.
2. Cold-Pressed Process
Cold-pressed seed oils refer to fully unrefined expeller-pressed oils not heated later during the refining process. These oils must be produced below 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Solvent Extracted Process
In the solvent extracted process, the seeds are ground up into a paste before the oil can be removed. Next, the ground seeds are purged or washed with a solvent such as hexane to release the fat within.
The solvent is then removed from the oil in a sealed chamber. Finally, the oil is subject to a refining process known as Refined, Bleached and Deodorized, or "RBD." In some cases, oil is also winterized and/or degummed.
Solvent expelling extracts 97 to 99% of the oil out of the seed. This method is the most efficient way to get all the oil out of the seeds.
Enhance Your Cooking With High-Quality Artisan Oils
Our minimally processed oils from La Tourangelle are expeller-pressed, meaning that we use no chemicals to extract the oils. All of our oils are 100% refined to capture and pass on healthy nutrients, flavors, antioxidants, and vitamins found in our high-quality plants, nuts, seeds, and fruits to your dishes. By using low impact packaging and minimal waste to develop our products, we seek to practice ecological sustainability while providing delectable oils to liven up your meals.
We have a range of oils designed to encourage creativity and experimentation in the kitchen, from hazelnut and walnut to avocado and coconut.
Feel free to browse our portfolio of flavorful and delicious oils or explore our recipes today.