Refined sunflower oil has long deprived leadership of crude oil not only in the food industry, cafes, and restaurants but also in the kitchens of customers. This product has a lot of advantages, and for the sake of them, the oil undergoes multi-stage processing after extraction and mechanical filtration.
Why oil is refined
The laborious processing of crude sunflower oil happens due to the following advantages of the refined one:
- Unrefined oil has a short shelf life. Additional cleaning increases the resistance to oxidative processes. Thanks to this a product is stored longer without loss of quality.
- The saleable condition changes, as there is less likelihood of precipitation. During refining, phospholipids, which may precipitate, are removed from the product.
- Refined and deodorized oil is tasteless and odorless. That allows it to be widely used in the food industry (for the manufacture of canned food, mayonnaise, and sauces).
- More suitable for frying and other types of heat treatment. Does not emit harmful carcinogens and does not smoke or foam on the pan.
Even though refining deprives the oil of some useful substances, its advantages fully justify this disadvantage.
Oil refining stages
The refining process consists of 4 stages – hydration, bleaching, neutralization, and freezing.
Inlet oil parameters have a profound effect on the flow and quality of the filtration process. In general, it can be said that the fewer impurities contained in the crude oil at the start, the higher quality of oil will be in the result. Processing of unrefined oil stored for a long time is problematic as over time it loses its ability to react and, therefore, loses its potential for refining.
The vegetable oil production process includes the following steps:
- Hydration. The crude oil is heated to about 70°C and thoroughly mixed with 1% phosphoric acid. The phospholipids are then removed and, as the result, there is a refined oil and gummy substance.
- Neutralization. For neutralization, refined oil is mixed with NaOH alkali and dispersed at a temperature of 90-100°C. At the next stage, the saponified fatty acids are separated from sunflower oil.
- Bleaching. The oil is decolorized using bleaching clay. The clay absorbs the remaining impurities, and allows to filter them out.
- Freezing. This step allows getting rid of the wax substances in the oil.
The refinement process is quite complicated and requires considerable labor. Losses in the product will be much lower if purchase crude material from a trusted sunflower oil supplier in Ukraine.