Food - Drink
Extracted Oil Vs Pressed Oil: What's The Difference?
It can be confusing when you shop for oils and see labels reading "extracted," "pressed," or a variety of other terms. These labels indicate how the oil is made, which can affect taste, color, and nutritional value; here are the differences between oil that's been extracted chemically, versus oil that's been physically extracted or "pressed."
A solvent is required to chemically extract oil from a vegetable, seed, or nut. The seed is grounded and then washed (usually in hexane) to draw out a yield of over 95% oil, and this oil and solvent solution is then heated to over 200 degrees F to remove the solvent; pre-pressing is also often used to extract more oil.
Chemical extraction is the commercial standard for vegetable oils, because it is less expensive, quicker, and requires less labor. However, it is impossible to confirm that no solvent will be left over in your oil, and even minor remnants of hexane or other chemicals have been linked to health issues, which brings us to the alternative: pressed oils.
Pressing is a more traditional way to extract oil from a plant, and pressed oils are free of hexane or other potentially harmful chemical solvents; the lack of direct, high heat typically used in extraction also means that pressed oils retain nutrients better. Manufacturers can choose between two methods: cold-pressing and hot-pressing.
Hot-pressing, or expeller-pressing, uses a press to push the crop through a cavity, and the resulting friction creates pressure and heat, ultimately producing oil. For cold-pressing, seeds are simply placed in a machine and then pressed and crushed; no additives are used and temps must not exceed 120 F, leading to clean, flavorful, but expensive oil.