When you're reaching for a cooking oil, it's best to use those low in saturated fats, free of trans fats and that contain monounsaturated fats. Animal fats typically contain more saturated fats than those derived from plant sources. Grapeseed oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats. Because it has a light, mild taste and a high smoke point, it makes an ideal oil substitute for baking.
About Grapeseed Oil
After the juice has been extracted from grapes during the process of winemaking, there is a solid mash, or pomace, that is left over. This is then pressed to make grapeseed oil. On average, less than 20 percent of a grapeseed contains oil, so it is an arduous extraction process. Because of the seed's toughness, however, it is protected from added sulfites and other chemicals that are sprayed on the grapes. The oil is produced in France, Switzerland and Italy, and in small quantities in the United States, according to the Martha Stewart website.
Grapeseed Oil vs. Olive Oil
Grapeseed oil is high in vitamin E and C, plant sterols, antioxidants and omegas 3, 6 and 9. According to the Dr. Gourmet website, research has shown that grapeseed oil is actually healthier for you than olive oil in that it lowers bad cholesterol and raises the good kind. The two share some of the same flavor profiles and both have similarly high smoke points.
Grapeseed oil is ideal for any cooking that involves high heat. It has a high smoke and burn point of 420 degrees F. The smoke point is the point at which harmful free radicals are released and the oil begins to smoke and burn, also changing its flavor. Because of its high smoke point, grapeseed oil is a great choice for baking, sautéing, deep-frying and barbecuing. The clean, light taste of the oil holds up well to high heat. When baking, substitute the oil in a 1-to-1 ratio for whatever oil the recipe originally calls for.
Because of the high cost of expeller-pressed grapeseed oil, many manufacturers cut the cost by using chemical extraction instead. If you wish to buy an oil processed this way, the Organic Authority website recommends you avoid those that have been expelled using the chemical hexane, because it's difficult to remove this harsh chemical from the final product. When buying oil, look for those stored in dark bottles, which will reduce the amount of light that reaches the oil, making it turn rancid. Store the grapeseed oil in a cool, dark place, such as your refrigerator. It can be stored for up to six months.