If you're like most moms, you probably have two types of oil in your kitchen cupboard: olive oil and canola oil. Whether you're planning to use oil in a salad, to stir-fry or for marinating meat, go outside your culinary comfort zone and try grapeseed oil. This heart-healthy oil offers an array of health benefits and a light, neutral taste; it's also ideal for most types of cooking.
Grapeseed oil was initially a byproduct of wine-making, with oil extracted from the tiny seeds of grapes after they were pressed. Most varieties of grapeseed oil are imported from Europe — primarily France, Italy and Switzerland — but are also available from some U.S. manufacturers. Not only can grapeseed oil easily replace olive oil in a variety of recipes, but it also offers numerous health benefits stemming from grapeseed oil's high levels of omega 6, omega 9 and omega 6 fatty acids, as well as vitamin E, C and beta-carotene.
Salads and Baking
Although grapeseed oil can have a slight grape flavoring, most varieties have a neutral taste that is non-nutty and non-greasy. Unlike some other oils, grapeseed oil won't turn cloudy if it's chilled. Because of its light, neutral taste, grapeseed oil is ideal for use in tossed salads, and can easily be substituted for olive oil. Grapeseed oil is also well suited for baking; when baking bread, use a pastry brush to apply a thin coating of grape seed oil on unbaked bread, which will give bread a brown, crispy crust when cooked. For added family fun, enlist your child to help "paint" the oil on the bread before it goes in the oven.
Grapeseed oil is ideal for pan frying because of its high smoke point. Because grapeseed oil doesn't begin to smoke until 420 degrees Fahrenheit, it can safely be used to cook at high temperatures. Virgin olive oil and peanut oil also have similarly high smoke points, so grapeseed oil can be substituted for both of these oils when frying. The clean, light taste of grapeseed oil, coupled with its high smoke point, makes it ideal for sauteing and stir-frying.
Grapeseed oil can be effective in helping meat maintain its moisture during cooking. Simply add your favorite seasonings — or a salad dressing mix -- to a tablespoon of grapeseed oil and rub on whatever cut of meat you plan to broil, fry or grill. Its neutral flavor allows you to use it on a wide variety of meat and poultry, including steaks, roasts, pork, fish, chicken or turkey.