Grapeseed oil is extracted from the seeds of grapes, typically wine grapes. Since grape seeds are usually discarded as part of the wine making process, the extraction and sale of the oil can be a profitable sideline, as well as an efficient use of a byproduct. In the 20th century, it began to be processed and sold in much higher volume, primarily in the United States and Europe. Many stores sell pure grapeseed oil for various applications.
Because each seed yields a small amount of oil, grapeseed oil is usually extracted chemically. The chemical extraction does have an impact on the flavor of the oil, but it makes it more affordable. Grapeseed oil is light in color and flavor, with a hint of nuttiness. It is a polyunsaturated oil, and contains beneficial compounds such as linoleic acid.
There are two primary uses for grapeseed oil: cosmetics and culinary applications. When purchasing oil to use in food, shoppers should make sure that it is clearly marked as food grade. Some cosmetic oils are stabilized with chemicals which could be harmful to consume. Like other oils, grapeseed oil should be stored in a cool dark place until it is used, unless it has been heavily stabilized. For people who use it rarely, refrigeration is best. Although the oil may congeal slightly, it will go rancid much more slowly when kept cold.
In foods, grapeseed oil has numerous uses. It has a very high smoking point, so many people use it for frying. It can also be included in dressings and sauces, and since it emulsifies very well, it does not generally separate when used to make things like mayonnaise. The flavor is also unobtrusive, allowing diners to focus on the main component of the dish. The oil can also be flavored with the addition of things like peppers, truffle shavings, and herbs.
Grapeseed oil is widely used in cosmetics. It is often combined with other oils to make massage oil, since it glides well on the skin and it also has moisturizing properties. This oil appears to assist with skin repair, as it has mildly astringent and antiseptic qualities. Some companies use it as a short term natural preservative in body products, while others integrate it into moisturizing creams, sunscreen, and an assortment of other products.