What is Vegetable Fat Made Of?
Vegetable fat, also known as vegetable shortening, is a solid fat used in baking, cooking and a variety of other products. Unlike animal fats, vegetable fats are made from plant-based oils and are trans-fat free.
Types of Plant-based Oils Used
Vegetable fat consists of a variety of plant-based oils. The most common ingredients are:
- Coconut oil: Known for its high saturated fat content, coconut oil is one of the most widely used vegetable fats.
- Palm oil: Extracted from the pulp of the fruit from the African palm tree, palm oil is also commonly used in vegetable fat.
- Soybean oil: Extracted from soybeans, this oil is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.
- Canola oil: Derived from the crushed seeds of the canola plant, this oil contains a high amount of monounsaturated fat.
Processing Vegetable Fats
To make vegetable fat suitable for baking, the plant-based oils are mixed and heated to high temperatures. Then emulsifiers are added to keep the fat in a solid state. Lastly, the fat is fractionated to reduce the amount of saturated fat in the product.
Uses of Vegetable Fat
Vegetable fat is used in a variety of products, including:
- Baked goods, like cookies and pie crusts
- Fried foods, such as doughnuts and French fries
- Margarine and other spreads
- Snack foods, like potato chips
Health Benefits of Vegetable Fat
Vegetable fat contains less saturated fat than animal fats, so it can be a healthier option. It also helps with texture and flavor in recipes, and makes for flakier crusts and moister cakes. In addition, vegetable fat helps with shelf life, as it prevents baked goods from becoming stale more quickly.
Vegetable fat is a solid fat that is made from a variety of plant-based oils. It is trans-fat free and contains less saturated fat than animal fats. The processing of vegetable fat involves heating, emulsifying and fractionating the oil. Vegetable fat is used in a variety of products, including baked goods, fried foods, spreads and snack foods. With its low saturated fat content, vegetable fat can be a better choice for a healthier diet.