Making Cooking Oil Via Fermentation – It’s a Real Thing

Making Cooking Oil Via Fermentation – It’s a Real Thing

353 Views

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘fermentation’. Most of us probably think about beer or wine. We are so used to equating fermentation with alcohol production that it doesn’t occur to us how the process could be used to make other things. Enter cooking oil.

A California company doing business as Zero Acre Farms manufactures and sells a cultured oil designed to replace products like vegetable oil, olive oil, coconut oil, etc. The oil can be used equally well for frying and as an ingredient in salad dressing. The company’s process for making the oil is very similar to fermenting beer.

Fermentation to Create Alcohol

Perhaps you are already familiar with the process of making beer and wine. For those who are not, breweries and wineries combine all the ingredients for each particular formulation in a fermentation tank. A stainless steel brewing tank is preferred for beers, according to CedarStoneIndustry out of Houston, TX.

Along with the main ingredients, yeast and sugar are added. The sugar is food for the yeast. During the fermentation process, yeast converts that sugar into alcohol. Breweries and wineries ferment their respective products for as long as it takes to achieve the desired results.

Some breweries utilize separate brite tanks while others use a single stainless steel brewing tank known as a unitank. Regardless, remaining solid constituents are removed, leaving you with an alcoholic beverage.

Fermentation to Create Oil

Utilizing fermentation to create a cooking oil is arguably an easier process. The manufacturer introduces microorganisms to a base formula that includes upcycled cattle feedstocks. Again, a stainless steel brewing tank is the best receptacle.

In Zero Acre Farms’ case, they utilize a combination of yeast and algae that are mostly oil in their natural state. The microorganisms feed on the feedstock material, just like yeast in beer feeds on the sugars. Feeding on the feedstock material essentially produces more oil within the cells of the microorganisms. Completing fermentation allows for breaking open the cells and extracting the oil.

Better Than Traditional Oil

It is said that cultured oil is better than traditional oil for a number of reasons. As a cooking oil, it can be used at much higher temperatures without smoking. That is a big plus for people who like to fry at home but are not fond of the smoky smell it produces.

Cultured oil is also flavorless. Therefore, it is neutral in terms of affecting food taste. That makes it a good choice for an oil and vinegar dressing. And for people who like to refrigerate their oil and use it multiple times, cultured oil has yet another benefit: it retains its liquid state at cool temperatures. Many traditional oils solidify in the fridge.

Large- and Small-Scale Production

One of the things Zero Acres Farms is most proud of is the fact that they can handle both large and small production runs. Because they are not having to harvest agricultural products, they can do a small run if a customer wants it. They can also scale that small run up to considerable size. The only resource they need in large quantities is upcycled feedstock material.

Utilizing upcycled feedstock keeps that material out of landfills. The company says it also produces a better cultured oil. That is a win-win by any measure.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘fermentation’. Most of us probably think about beer or wine. We are so used to equating fermentation with alcohol production that it doesn’t occur to us how the process could be used to make other things. Enter cooking oil.

A California company doing business as Zero Acre Farms manufactures and sells a cultured oil designed to replace products like vegetable oil, olive oil, coconut oil, etc. The oil can be used equally well for frying and as an ingredient in salad dressing. The company’s process for making the oil is very similar to fermenting beer.

Fermentation to Create Alcohol

Perhaps you are already familiar with the process of making beer and wine. For those who are not, breweries and wineries combine all the ingredients for each particular formulation in a fermentation tank. A stainless steel brewing tank is preferred for beers, according to CedarStoneIndustry out of Houston, TX.

Along with the main ingredients, yeast and sugar are added. The sugar is food for the yeast. During the fermentation process, yeast converts that sugar into alcohol. Breweries and wineries ferment their respective products for as long as it takes to achieve the desired results.

Some breweries utilize separate brite tanks while others use a single stainless steel brewing tank known as a unitank. Regardless, remaining solid constituents are removed, leaving you with an alcoholic beverage.

Fermentation to Create Oil

Utilizing fermentation to create a cooking oil is arguably an easier process. The manufacturer introduces microorganisms to a base formula that includes upcycled cattle feedstocks. Again, a stainless steel brewing tank is the best receptacle.

In Zero Acre Farms’ case, they utilize a combination of yeast and algae that are mostly oil in their natural state. The microorganisms feed on the feedstock material, just like yeast in beer feeds on the sugars. Feeding on the feedstock material essentially produces more oil within the cells of the microorganisms. Completing fermentation allows for breaking open the cells and extracting the oil.

Better Than Traditional Oil

It is said that cultured oil is better than traditional oil for a number of reasons. As a cooking oil, it can be used at much higher temperatures without smoking. That is a big plus for people who like to fry at home but are not fond of the smoky smell it produces.

Cultured oil is also flavorless. Therefore, it is neutral in terms of affecting food taste. That makes it a good choice for an oil and vinegar dressing. And for people who like to refrigerate their oil and use it multiple times, cultured oil has yet another benefit: it retains its liquid state at cool temperatures. Many traditional oils solidify in the fridge.

Large- and Small-Scale Production

One of the things Zero Acres Farms is most proud of is the fact that they can handle both large and small production runs. Because they are not having to harvest agricultural products, they can do a small run if a customer wants it. They can also scale that small run up to considerable size. The only resource they need in large quantities is upcycled feedstock material.

Utilizing upcycled feedstock keeps that material out of landfills. The company says it also produces a better cultured oil. That is a win-win by any measure.

Creating cooking oil through fermentation isn’t the norm by any means. But it may start catching on. If it does, cooking with vegetable oil could eventually become passé. But will cultured oil ever replace virgin olive oil? Don’t bet on it.

Health