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.
Food use of soybean oil
Soybean oil is also used by the food industry in a variety of food products including salad dressings, sandwich spreads, margarine, bread, mayonnaise, non-dairy coffee creamers and snack foods. The high smoke point of soybean oil allows it to be used as frying oil. Soybean oil is often hydrogenated to increase its shelf life or to produce a more solid product. In this process, unhealthy trans fats are produced which may raise blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. Food manufacturers are now trying to remove trans fats from their product. For this purpose, scientists are breeding new varieties of soybeans containing oil that does not need to be hydrogenated.
Non-food use of soybean oil
Soybean oil is not only used in food products but is also used as renewable raw material to produce a variety of non-food products including bio diesel, inks, plasticizers, crayons, paints and soy candles
Storage of soybean oil
Soybean oil has normally a shelf life of 1 year but its better to store the soybean oil only a few months at room temperature. Soybean oil should be stored in a dry and dark place. It should be stored away from heat and if you want to keep soybean oil for longer periods it should be kept refrigerated.