Peanut oil

Peanut oil, also known as groundnut oil or arachis oil, is a vegetable oil derived from peanuts. The oil has a strong peanut flavor and aroma.[1][2] It is often used in American, Chinese, South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine, both for general cooking, and in the case of roasted oil, for added flavor.

History

Due to war shortages of other oils, use of readily-available peanut oil increased in the United States during World War II.[3]

Uses

Unrefined peanut oil has a smoke point of 320 °F/160 °C and is used as a flavorant for dishes akin to sesame oil. The refined peanut oil has a smoke point of 450 °F/232 °C is commonly used for frying volume batches foods like french fries.[4]

Other uses

Peanut oil, as with other vegetable oils, can be used to make soap by the process of saponification.[5] Peanut oil is safe for use as a massage oil.

Biodiesel

At the 1900 Paris Exhibition, the Otto Company, at the request of the French Government, demonstrated that peanut oil could be used as a source of fuel for the diesel engine; this was one of the earliest demonstrations of biodiesel technology.[6]

Composition

Its major component fatty acids are oleic acid (46.8% as olein), linoleic acid (33.4% as linolein), and palmitic acid (10.0% as palmitin).[7] The oil also contains some stearic acid, arachidic acid, behenic acid, lignoceric acid and other fatty acids.[citation needed]

Nutritional content

According to the USDA data upon which the following table is based, 100 g of peanut oil contains 17.7 g of saturated fat, 48.3 g of monounsaturated fat, and 33.4 g of polyunsaturated fat.[7]

Properties of common cooking fats (per 100 g)
Type of fat Total fat (g) Saturated fat (g) Mono­unsaturated fat (g) Poly­unsaturated fat (g) Smoke point
Canola oil 100 7 63 28 205 °C (401 °F)[8][9]
Coconut oil 100 86 6 2 177 °C (351 °F)
Corn oil 100 15 30 55 230 °C (446 °F)[10]
Olive oil 100 14 73 11 190 °C (374 °F)[10]
Peanut oil 100 17 46 32 225 °C (437 °F)[10]
Rice bran oil 100 25 38 37 250 °C (482 °F)[11]
Soybean oil 100 16 23 58 257 °C (495 °F)[10]
Sunflower oil 100 11 20 69 225 °C (437 °F)[10]
Sunflower oil (high oleic) 100 12 84[8] 4[8]
Vegetable shortening (hydrogenated) 71 23 8 37 165 °C (329 °F)[10]
Butter 81 51 21 3 150 °C (302 °F)[10]
Lard 100 39 45 11 190 °C (374 °F)[10]
Suet 94 52 32 3 200 °C (392 °F)

Health issues

Toxins

Highly refined peanut oil can contain traces of hexane, a petroleum byproduct used to maximize separation of oil from the solids of peanuts. The EPA identifies hexane as a neurotoxin in rat studies.[12][13] There are no specific regulations on the limits of hexane use in cooking oils. If quality control is neglected, peanuts that contain the mold that produces highly toxic aflatoxin can end up contaminating the oil derived from them.[14]

Allergens

Those allergic to peanuts can consume highly refined peanut oil, but should avoid first-press, organic oil.[15]
Most highly refined peanut oils remove the peanut allergens and have been shown to be safe for “the vast majority of peanut-allergic individuals”.[16] However, cold-pressed peanut oils may not remove the allergens and thus could be highly dangerous to people with peanut allergy.[17]

Since the degree of processing for any particular product is often unclear, “avoidance is prudent.”[18][19]