Rice bran oil is a natural oil that is created using the hull of the rice grain. Considered to be rich in antioxidants and several vitamins, it is used for cooking as well as in the creation of creams and other skin care products. When prepared as a cooking oil, it will usually keep for anywhere from six months to a year when stored at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.
One of the advantages of using rice bran oil in cooking is that the oil has a high smoking point. This means that it is ideal for frying foods without running the risk of overheating and burning the food before the meat or coated vegetables are cooked all the way through. Many cooks prefer rice bran oil because the ability to achieve a crunchy texture and a uniform color to the coating enhance the visual appeal of the finished product.
The creation of rice bran oil involves the pressing of the hull or bran of the rice grain. By pressing on the hull, small amounts of oil can be extracted and collected. The oil contains a hefty amount of vitamin E as well as fatty acids that lend a great deal of taste to it. The presence of a number of antioxidants also help to make it a healthier alternative for use in salad dressings and as an ingredient in baked goods.
Another attribute of rice bran oil is the mild degree of flavor that the oil lends to many recipes. When used in drying, the oil gently enhances any herbs and spices that are used in the coating of the meat or vegetables. As an ingredient in a salad dressing, it provides a slightly sweet taste that mixes very well with flavored vinegars and various spices. When used as oil in baked goods, it can help to provide a slightly nutty flavor to the overall taste of the baked good without interfering with any flavoring that was included in the batter.
While rice bran oil is thought to have originated in Japan, it has been used in many different countries. Until recent years, purchasing it in the United States required a trip to a local health food store. However, as more people search for healthier ways to prepare their favorite foods, this oil has begun to appear on the shelves at many larger supermarket chains.