To produce soybean oil, the soybeans are cracked, adjusted for moisture content, rolled into flakes and solvent-extracted with commercial hexane. The oil is then refined, blended for different applications, and sometimes hydrogenated. Soybean oils, both liquid and partially hydrogenated, are exported abroad, sold as "vegetable oil," or end up in a wide variety of processed foods. 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. 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.
How to select
Most manufactured soybean oil is sold bottled or in plastic pouches for cooking use. Look out for a light golden colored oil which should be free from any discoloration, cloudiness or granules.
" Since soybean oil is almost tasteless and odorless, it is a good choice for baking. It is widely used as a salad oil and it is also the main ingredient in the production of margarine
" Soybean oil is used in the manufacture of pickles.
" 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.
" Snacks, baking mixes and crumb coatings for meat and poultry account for few other culinary uses of soy oil.
How to store
Store the soy oil in a cool and dark place. Avoid re using the left over oil from deep frying as reheating oil again and again may affect the chemical composition and rancidity quotient of the oil. Unopened bottles, or metal containers, can be kept for about a year. Once they've been opened, though, they should be used within 2 months, after which, they can turn rancid (bad) and shouldn't be consumed. If possible, transfer the oil from a can into a glass bottle to avoid metallic tasting oil; plastic containers shouldn't be used because they may lend off a "plastic" taste to the oil.
" Soybean Oil, healthy palatable food oil, can play a major role in the human diet.
" Soybean oil contains natural antioxidants which remain in the oil even after extraction. These antioxidants help to prevent the oxidative rancidity.
" The major unsaturated fatty acids in soybean oil triglycerides are 7% alpha-Linolenic acid (C-18:3); 51% linoleic acid (C-18:2); and 23% oleic acid (C-18:1). It also contains the saturated fatty acids 4% stearic acid and 10% palmitic acid.