—by Monica Rojas
Grapeseed oil is made by cold-pressing grape seeds. A fairly new product, it was made only beginning in the twentieth century, because the techniques and needed mechanics to extract the oil from the seeds are highly specific.
The abundance of grapes, and the practice of wine making, have made acquiring the seeds very efficient. Many producers of grapeseed oil use wineries as a supplier, because of the huge amount of seeds left from the wine making process.
There are two common uses for grapeseed oil, one being as the oil itself for use in the kitchen, and two as an ingredient in cosmetics.
In the kitchen, grapeseed oil can be used in place of any cooking oil. It has an unusually high
smoking point at 421ºF, which makes it particularly good for high temperature cooking, such as sautés and stir-fries. Its taste is described as light, slightly nutty, and clean.
Grapeseed oil is used by many chefs because it is said to help retain the natural flavor of the food. It can be used for an enormous variety of foods, including mayonnaise, salad dressings, baked goods, and pancakes. It is also a good oil to try infusions with herbs.
Along with having the versatility of any other oil, grapeseed oil has several health benefits. It has high amounts of vitamin E and essential fatty acids, along with antioxidants originating from the compound proanthocyanidins.
As a cosmetic, grapeseed oil is most commonly used as a moisturizer, either by itself or as an ingredient. Many hand creams, face moisturizers, lip repair/care products, and body lotions use grapeseed extract and/or oil, because of its light consistency.
Another common use is for shaving. You apply the oil straight onto the skin and then shave over the oil. It can be applied easily to the skin in its pure oil form and is well absorbed. It naturally acts to revitalize, and helps to repair dry, tight skin.
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1¼ teaspoons salt
pinch of pepper
1 cup grapeseed oil
Whisk the eggs rapidly in a bowl and add the oil drop by drop. Whisk in the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Lasts half a week to a week in the refrigerator.
¼ cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together the grapeseed oil, basil, vinegar, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Pour over salad, toss, and serve immediately.
1¼ cup milk
1 cup (organic) rolled oats
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
Combine 1¼ cups milk and 1 cup (organic) rolled oats and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to soak.
Add grapeseed oil and beaten eggs to the milk and oatmeal mixture.
Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix until dry ingredients are moistened.
On a hot griddle drop ¼ cup (or big tablespoon) of batter for each pancake. Turn pancakes when top is bubbly and edges are slightly dry.
Serve with maple syrup and fresh sliced fruit (banana, peach, pear, apple). Makes 10–12 pancakes.
Rosemary Infused Oil
5 twigs of dry rosemary needles
jar with lid (pint size)
½ cup grapeseed oil
Place the dried needles in a clean jar such as a mason jar and completely cover with grapeseed oil. Put a lid on the jar. Store rosemary oil in a cool, dark place.
[Monica Rojas works with elementary-age children, most textiles, and foods.]