Soybean oil is widely used oil and is commonly called ‘vegetable oil. Soybean oil is a very healthy food ingredient despite the bad publicity regarding fats and oils in general.
Soybean oil is very popular because it is cheap, healthful and has a high smoke point. Soybean oil does not contain much saturated fat. Like all other oils from vegetable origin, soybean oil contains no cholesterol. Saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart diseases and mainly found in products from animal origin such as milk, cheese and meat products.
Soybean oil contains natural antioxidants which remain in the oil even after extraction. These antioxidants help to prevent the oxidative rancidity.
In processing soybeans for oil extraction and subsequent soy flour production, selection of high quality, sound, clean, dehulled yellow soybeans is very important. Soybeans having a dark coloured seed coat or even beans with a dark hilum will inadvertently leave dark specks in the flour, and are undesirable for use in commercial food products. All commercial soybeans in the United States are yellow or yellow brown.
To produce soybean oil, the soybeans are cracked, adjusted for moisture content, heated to between 140°F and 190°F, rolled into flakes, and solvent-extracted with hexane. The oil is then refined, blended for different applications, and sometimes hydrogenated . Soybean oils, both liquid and partially hydrogenated, are exported abroad, sold as “vegetable oil,” or end up in a wide variety of processed foods. Most of the remaining soybean meal is used as animal feed.
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