Majority of the nuts, including almonds, peanuts, pecan and hazelnuts contain high percentage of oils. Regarding almonds, approximately 50 percent of their weight are composed of oils. Thus, they are used for producing flavorful oils. Differing in the sources used, you will find two types of almond oil in the market. Regular almond oil is extracted from bitter almonds (amara variety), while the other is called sweet almond oil, and is produced from sweet almonds (dulcis variety).
Cooking with Almond Oil
The uses of almond oil in cosmetics and therapeutics are not new to us. But many are still doubtful regarding the use of almond oil in cooking. Definitely, it can be used in baking, frying goodies and salad dressing. If you go through the benefits of almond oil, you will find them quite impressive. The common applications of this nut oil include cooking, beauty treatments, aromatherapy and medicinal practices. In short, it is a multipurpose oil having culinary and curative properties.
As far as adding almond oil in culinary practices is concerned, it is the regular oil based on bitter nuts that is popularly used. Of course, you can also use sweet almond oil for culinary purposes. But, its strong, nutty flavor is not suited for food recipes. Thus the use of sweet almond oil is often restricted to skin care, hair care and home remedies for diseases. The regular almond oil is also available in two forms, flavorful cold-pressed type and less flavorful refined type.
Is Almond Oil Good for Cooking?
At any point of time, using the best cooking oil is of utmost importance for you and your family members. It is one of the fatty ingredients that we use regularly in cooking. Generally, oils derived from nuts are healthier options than regular oils. They do contain high quantities of fats, their calorie count is very high, but what differentiates nut oils from others is the type of fats contained in them. Yes, they are rich sources of essential fatty acids, which are necessary for the body's normal functioning.
As almonds possess high nutritional value, it is understandable that oil extracted from these healthy nuts are nutritive too. With almond oil, maximum fats are of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated types, while a small portion is contributed by saturated fats. Also, this nut oil has monounsaturated fatty acids that help lower cholesterol. Also, almond oil is low in sodium. It is surely a healthier substitute to salted butter and shortening in baking. Despite all this, consuming almond oil is a concern for many, because of its high calorie count. Using 1 tablespoon of almond oil for cooking or serving food yields 120 calories.
How to Cook with Almond Oil?
While cooking with almond oil, you have to correlate the suitability of this cooking medium with the food recipes. Putting in simple words, cold-pressed oil imparts a strong flavor to dishes, but is not stable under high temperature. Contrary to this, refined oil is not very flavorful and can withstand high temperature cooking, like baking and frying. So, use the refined type, if your recipe calls for frying or oven baking. In case, you don't like the strong aroma of nut oil, then also go for the refined almond oil.
In order to reap the benefits of almond oil and enjoy its mild flavor, use of cold-pressed almond oil, but restrict it to cold dishes and drizzling over salads. Exposure to high heat reduces its nutty flavor, and nutrition. For baking flavorful goodies, consider using both cold-pressed and refined almonds oils in equal amounts. This way, you can add almond oil in food recipes.