palm kernel nut by Florapower

Palm kernel Palm nut oil with the Florapower oil press!

Oil extraction

Palm oil (also known as palm fat) is made from the flesh of the palm nuts, while palm kernel oil is made from the kernels of the oil fruit. To obtain the palm oil, the fruit is pressed in mills so that the palm oil is obtained from the fleshy mesocarp. Due to their high carotene content, both the fruit and the oil obtained have an orange-red color. However, this can be removed by refining. Palm nuts, which are undamaged despite the pressure exerted during the pressing process, are also obtained as a by-product of the oil pressing process. First, however, the fibers of the mesocarp and the shells must be removed and dried to a residual moisture content of around 8%. The latter serves to prevent mold growth.

The processed palm kernels are then mechanically pressed. The result is high-quality press cake and palm kernel oil.

Properties and shelf life of palm nut oil

Palm oil and palm kernel oil differ both in their character and in their fatty acid composition.

Raw palm oil is a buttery, dark to reddish-yellow fat. Refined oil, however, has a clear and light color. Ageing caused by microorganisms (= fermentation) makes the oil cloudy and gives it an intense odor.

Raw palm kernel oil is yellow to brownish in color, after refining it forms an almost white to slightly yellowish fat.

The smell of palm oil is often described as faint, fresh and slightly green. Palm kernel oil smells very herbaceous, eucalyptus-like, spicy, slightly fruity-sweet and also slightly green. It can also have a slight hint of lemon.

The taste of refined palm oil is sweet and pleasant. The melting point of palm oil is usually between 30°C and 40°C.

Just like the fruit, unrefined palm oil has a high carotene content. This is responsible for the orange-red color. This unrefined palm oil also contains a lot of vitamin E, especially tocotrienols and Vitamin A.

This ratio of fatty acid composition is very different from that of palm kernel oil. This is because palm kernel oil contains around 83% saturated fatty acids, but only around 15% monounsaturated and around 2% polyunsaturated. Oleic acid is found here at around 15% and lionolic acid at only around 2%. In addition to mainly lauric acid (about 48%), there is also about 8% palmitic acid, about 16% myristic acid, about 3% stearic acid, about 3% capric acid and about 3% caprylic acid.

The oil also contains many vitamins and minerals.

When storing palm oil, care should be taken to ensure that it is stored in an aroma-safe place to avoid any foreign odors. It is therefore important to store it in a cool, dark place. The shelf life of unopened palm oil is several months.

Use of palm nut oil in various areas

Currently, palm oil and palm kernel oil are mainly used for the production of food and in the kitchen. Only around 5% is processed into biofuel and the rest of global palm oil production (around 10 – 22%) is used in industry, e.g. to produce cleaning agents and cosmetics.

Palm oil – Versatile use in industry!

Palm oil has many uses in this area. It can be used to produce soaps and candles or to extract lauric acid. This in turn forms the basis for various surfactants. Palm oil is also a raw material for a number of other products in the cosmetics and cleaning industry.

Palm oil can also be used to produce biofuels (primarily biodiesel and NEXBtL, a hydrogenated vegetable oil). This is currently happening mainly in Indonesia. Palm oil offers several advantages here. On the one hand, a large amount of oil can be obtained from the palm fruit (compared to rapeseed, a significantly higher oil yield can be achieved per hectare), on the other hand, palm oil diesel saves primary energy compared to the use of conventional diesel and can therefore reduce CO2 emissions. In addition, palm oil diesel is said to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulates, its production price is relatively low compared to other types of biodiesel and this oil is also considered a renewable source of energy, as the palm trees and therefore also the palm fruits are always growing again. Despite this good energy balance, palm oil also has a major disadvantage. Many square kilometers of tropical rainforest are currently being destroyed for the large-scale cultivation of oil palms, particularly in Indonesia.

Discover the secret of the master chefs: palm oil – in the kitchen

Both palm kernel oil and palm oil are mainly used in the kitchen. Palm oil is used by the food industry to produce margarine, sauces, baked goods, confectionery, potato and chocolate products. It is also used for frying, cooking and deep-frying, especially in Asia and Africa. Due to its excellent heat and oxidation stability, it is particularly suitable for these purposes. It has the advantage that it contains hardly any bound polyunsaturated fatty acids, which could be converted into harmful trans fatty acids when heat is applied. It is also healthy due to its high content of vitamins A and E and beta-carotene.

In pharmacy and medicine

Palm kernel oil is used here as a base for various creams.

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In addition to their own knowledge acquired through press trials, the following sources were used to create the article:

  • Öle, natürlich kaltgepresst, Basiswissen & Rezepte, Marcus Hartmann, Hädecke, 2008
  • Heilende Öle, Pflanzenöle als Nahrungs- und Heilmittel, Neue Erkenntnisse, Günter Albert Ulmer Verlag Tuningen
  • Lexikon der pflanzlichen Fette und Öle, Krist, Buchbauer, Klausberger, SpringerWienNewYork, 2008
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