We know palm oil as the deep coloured liquid that has a unique flavour. There are different types of palm oil that can be used in dishes that have their own characteristics. Here are four of them.
- Palm Oil
This type of palm oil comes from the palm fruit found in dense and humid rainforests. This crude oil contains Vitamin E, carotenoids (pigmentation that makes a fruit red, yellow or orange) and antioxidants. It is also known as red palm oil.
- Palm Kernel Oil
This one comes from the seed or the kernel and it has a similar composition to that of coconut oil. It is eighty percent saturated with a minimal amount of monounsaturated fats. A monounsaturated fat is a molecule that has one unsaturated carbon bond. These fats tend to become liquid at room temperature but start to solidify once chilled. Coconut oil also does this.
- Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil
This is the more processed version of the palm kernel oil where all liquid has been removed. It is mainly used to make protein bars and other sweets that require oil or fat.
- White Palm oil
This is a refined, bleached and deodorised or RBD oil. All properties and characteristics including its colour and antioxidant properties have been removed through this refined, bleached and deodorised process. This version of the oil is used to manufacture foods without changing the flavour too much. It adds a solid and binding fat so that the food substance stays intact.
Palm oil is extracted by using an ancient mechanical process. This is the best process for the palm fruit in order to avoid high temperatures and pressures that will cause valuable loss of the cooking oil’s characteristics. The mechanical process involves pressing the kernels to release the liquid within. A centrifuge or chemicals have not been used to extract the oils as these two processes cause damage to the quality and flavour.
Using the liquid from the palm seed as cooking oil can give your food have a unique flavour. Palm oil does not have a generic flavour and it often feels like the inside of your mouth is coated with the liquid hours after you have eaten it.
It is an acquired taste that not many people are used to. Most people are not used to the unique flavour. The average person who eats sweets and protein bars will not taste this oil in the product because of how refined and saturated it has become through the extraction process.