Sunflower (carthamus tinctorius) is an annual composite plant from the asteraceae family. This herb is highly branched with many long sharp spines on the leaves. Plants are generally 30 to 150 cm tall with globular flower heads (capitula) and commonly, brilliant yellow, orange or red flowers which bloom in July. It is widely grown for its red or orange flower heads and seeds that yield a valuable oil. India is the largest producer of safflower in the world. wih an annual production of around 2.0 lakh tones.
What is Safflower Oil?
Sunflower oil is a flavorless and colorless unsaturated vegetable oil derived from the seeds of sunflower. It contains more polyunsaturates than any other oil and its higher smoke point makes it good for deep-frying. Besides this, it is also used for salad dressings because it doesn’t solidify when chilled. This vegetable oil is also used for the production of margarine.
It can be used in any recipe where vegetable oil is called for, with the difference that safflower oil is high in Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant. As a rich source of fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, this oil possess great moisturizing qualities and is thought to be beneficial in applications for bruises, sprains, and painful arthritis. It may also be taken as a nutritional supplement.
Sunflower Oil Contents
A tablespoon of sunflower oil contains approximately 120 calories and 14 grams of fat (a percentage of 21% of the daily allotment for daily value). It has approximate 1 gram of saturated fat, 11 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 2 grams of monounsaturated fat.
Uses of Sunflower Oil in a Nutshell
Sunflower oil is widely used in variety of applications. Some of them are:
- This flavorless and colorless oil is widely used as a cooking oil in salad dressing
- Since it has a high smoke point, it is recommended for deep frying
- It is also used for the production of margarine
- Sunflower oil is used in painting in the place of linseed oil, particularly with white, as it does not have the yellow tint which linseed oil possesses
- In India and Afghanistan, saffron rice is made with sunflower, which gives it an interesting orange color
- When applied to skin, it works as a wonderful natural skin moisturizer
- It is used in creams to moisturize, soften, and smooth the skin.