written by Maison Orphée
The first cold-pressed process is a simple one but it still requires certain know-how to obtain the best results. It is a process in which non-preheated oil seeds are pressed only once, with no additional heat and at the lowest temperature possible, in order to extract their oil. This type of pressing preserves the nutritional properties of the oil (vitamins, tocopherols, essential fatty acids, pigments, etc.) as well as their aromas.
Seeds, carefully selected, that have had dust and husks removed are stored in silos where they flow towards the rotating screw mechanism of the press. Without being preheated, the seeds are dragged by the rotating screw mechanism that grinds them along the extraction cage in order to extract the oil. The oil never reaches over 50oC (122oF), the maximum temperature allowed during the cold extraction process. This heat is a result of the friction created by the grinding of oil seeds in the extraction cage. The extracted oil flows through minuscule holes all around the extraction cage. It is then filtered and bottled. Expiry dates are then printed on opaque bottles, which is a testament to the care and attention the manufacturer put into offering you a quality product. Once pressed, the seeds take the shape of small, protein-rich wafers that will be used to organically feed livestock.
The production of good first cold-pressed oil can be compared to the production of fresh fruit juice. Rotten oranges would never be used to make fresh orange juice. The same applies to oil: low-quality seeds will give the oil a bad taste and it will quickly turn rancid. Of course, it is also essential to use good equipment and control the speed of extraction. Contrary to oil that is refined, inert and almost unalterable, a first cold-pressed oil is vibrant because it retains its taste and nutritional properties. It also requires appropriate packaging (tinted glass).
At Maison Orphée, our oils are only made with the highest quality fruit and seeds. We cold-pressed: Canola, Sesame, Sunflower and Flaxseed oils under 48oC (118oF) which means that they are raw oils, preserving the integrity, the fatty acids and antioxidants content. The term «virgin» is the equivalent of first cold-pressed and can be used for all varieties of oil (except for olive oil, we use the term «extra virgin» means that it is the best quality olive oil with the lowest oleic acidity < 0.8%).
How to choose a good oil?
Given the continuous barrage of oils on the market, here are some important questions that will help you make an informed choice:
- Who is the maker?
- Can the maker be easily contacted?
- What is the origin of the product?
- Is it organic? If so, who is the external body that certified it? Is it accredited?
- Can I obtain information on the product from the manufacturer (where and how the products are produced, what is the origin of the raw materials, what are the quality and health standards, is there a system to trace products, complete nutritional information, “how-to” advice, educational activities for customers)?
- Is there an expiry date on the product?
- Is there a lot code to trace the product if there is a problem?
- For olive oil, are the terms cold extraction or first cold-pressed and extra-virgin clearly indicated on the label?
- Is the bottle dark and preferably made of glass?
Lastly, remember that a good first cold-pressed oil will have the taste and aroma of the oil seeds used.
About La Maison Orphée
Established in 1983, La Maison Orphée is the first craft oil mill in eastern Canada. La Maison Orphée is owned and operated by the Belanger Family. The company’s mission is to transmit a passion for good food to Canadian consumers. Its owner-managers explore the Americas and Europe in search of the best ingredients in order to respect traditional production methods and maintain environmental protection. As a Quebec producer of gourmet products, Maison Orphée combines the expertise of European masters with a determination to innovate each and every day to offer customers better products.