Sunflower oil is made by pressing a particular type of sunflower seed to extract the oil inside. It’s usually has a light yellow or amber colour and it has a light mild flavour. Sunflower oil has a high smoking point so it’s perfect for high-temperature cooking like frying, deep frying or roasting potatoes. Sunflower oil should be avoided by those with seed allergies.
It is also commonly used as a method of preservation, you can find foods like cammed tuna, and sundried tomatoes sold in sunflower oil.
Sunflower oil nutrition
Sunflower oil is considered to be on the healthier end of the spectrum when it comes to cooking oils. It has generous amounts of vitamin E, vitamin K, phytosterols, and monosaturated fatty acids.
Sunflower oil is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which helps maintain good cholesterol levels. It also lecithin which helps in lowering cholesterol. Lecithin sticks to your nerve and cell linings and prevents fat and cholesterol from sticking to your cell.
Sunflower oil contains about 884 calories per 100ml, but remember as it’s used for cooking you will not be consuming much of it.
Sunflower oil smoking point
Refined sunflower oil and unrefined sunflower oil aren’t the same and its good to know the difference! When the oil has been extracted from the seeds it is referred to as unrefined. Usually, it has a more rich flavour and is have a higher nutritional value than refined oils.
Refined Oils have been through a process that removes some of the taste and the nutrients but this process raises the smoking point meaning that it is better for high heat cooking like deep frying.
The sunflower oil smoking point is:
- Refined – 232°C/450°F
- Unrefined – 107°C/225°F
Sunflower oil substitute
There are many alternatives that can be used instead of sunflower oil.
- Flaxseed oil – also has a high smoking point, and it contains higher levels of omega-3 than sunflower oil, It is also has a mild flavour.
- Vegetable oil – Also has a high smoking point, and both are low in saturated fats. Vegetable oil may be less expensive and more readily available than sunflower oil.
- Olive oil – Are both rich in vitamin E. However, virgin olive oil has a distinctive flavour. If you are looking to replace sunflower oil in a recipe that needs a flavourless oil, light olive oil will work.
All oils are naturally gluten-free, but its best to check the label make sure.