We have the rare pleasure of sourcing and providing organic cold-pressed oils produced in an oil mill, owned by a friend of 25 years , four kms from our farm near Pollachi. It truly satisfies our need to keep food miles low, know the source of our food, and know the farmer and processor. We stop by the oil mill whenever we go to our farm and watch the mill producing the three oils ( ground nut, coconut, sesame), see the processes of drying, extraction and large steel vats oils being kept for sedimentation and filtering.
Below is a small note from RS, our dear friend of over a couple of decades, an ex-corporate professional, who produces the oil:
We produce organic cold-pressed oils; coconut, groundnut and sesame oil. All our sources are personally verified to make sure that the seeds are grown organically. We visit the farms and are regularly in contact. In addition, we also grow some quantity of all the three oilseeds ourselves. We make it a point to keep our supply batches separate so that we can ensure traceability back to the farms. To preserve the quality of our product we store coconut and groundnut with the shell on. We only shell/peel and clean a week’s supply at a time. Once shelled, the raw materials are sun dried or dried in a solar dryer (when it rains) and in the case of copra scooped out and dried again. After drying, the seeds are crushed and the oil is kept undisturbed for three days for the sediment to settle. We then filter it the way it was done in days gone by, through ghada cloth.
Using the cold pressed process the typical yield for coconut oil is around 60 – 63 % per kg of copra. For groundnut it is around 40% and for sesame it is around 35 – 37% per kg of seed. Our oil presses have been customised to achieve the best quality product. All parts that come into contact with the oil have been changed from the traditional cast iron to food grade steel. The speed of grinding has been reduced to 20 rpm instead of 50- 60 rpm that is typical of ghani oil. We store the oil in stainless steel drums and use only food grade, oil grade plastic bottles and cans for packing.
Healthy oils are not only about cold-pressing, it is about organic growing, natural sun-drying of seeds, cold-pressed production, simple filtering and no additives. The richness and taste of these oils is quite distinct and we need to typically use only 60% of these oils ( compared to the normal store bought oils). Ananthoo, a leading organic food activist, says, “Oil pressed from the traditional rotaries (Chekku) has the right balance of nutrients and enzymes. The so called super/ultra refining removes the basic properties of oil and makes it tasteless and devoid of nutrition. Large scale industrial production and mindless cost based consumerism has led to this sorry state of affairs”.
Once we get used to these organic cold-pressed oils, we can’t go back to the oils produced in the industrial system. These oils would contain a little bit of moisture as they are completely naturally produced and would have some amount of foaming when you heat them for deep frying. This problem is normal and has also a natural, time-tested solution. Put a small ball of tamarind into the oil first when it is being heated. The ball of tamarind will absorb the moisture and scoop it out, then the oil is ready for frying your snacks.
Both sesame and coconut oils ( cold pressed, organic) are good for oil pulling and work very efficiently to prevent and cure dental and gum related infections and long trem dental care. Consuming a table spoon of raw coconut oil everyday is supposed to help improve memory. The traditional Kerala cooking involves pouring a spoon of oil on many preparations (paruppu, aviyal , olan) after the cooking is done. This obviously has health benefits, in addition to adding a wonderful aroma and taste to the food.
Another use the coconut oil is put to is for applying on hair to reduce hair loss. Some use this oil directly for the hair, some others use organic coconut oil heated with herbs and cooled and bottled.
This batch of oil came from traditional sesame and that has imbued dark colour to the oil. The oils are bottled in the mill only after getting orders (therefore not kept in plastic bottles for long) and we also recommend to everyone who buys the oils to pour these into steel containers or glass bottles as soon as the oils are purchased.
So try out these organic cold-pressed oils!SHARE it! ... and spread the good word!