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IPP Featured Plants:
Vegetable oils are triglycerides that have been extracted from plants. Human beings have made use of these oils for thousands of years in various ways. They are utilized in food preparation as well as meal supplements. Furthermore, many of these substances are used in oil lamp fuels, oil paints, and skin care products, among other applications.
Plant oils fall into several types, which can be distinguished by the oil-extraction method used on the plant. One way to extract oil is to place part of the plant under pressure—this produces expressed (or pressed) oil. Alternatively, oils can be extracted by dissolving the parts of a plant in water or another type of solvent suitable for this purpose. The solution is separated from the plant and then concentrated, resulting in extracted or leached oil.
It’s also possible to separate the mixture by distilling the oils away from the plant material, which results in what are known as essential oils. These oils tend to be used in ways very different from the other oils we have mentioned.
Macerated oils are another type. These are made by infusing plants in base oils; this process is known as liquid-liquid extraction.
Although the majority of plants contain oil, only certain types of crops are widely used for the extraction of the types of oils discussed on this page.
Vegetable oils are classified in several ways:
By use: Oils are used in cooking, in fuels, in cosmetics, in medicines, and for a number of other purposes.
By source: Most vegetable oils are extracted from plant seeds or fruits, and these oils can be classified by grouping oils that are derived from similar plants.
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