Leftovers aren’t so bad, especially when it comes to winemaking. Grape seeds, a by-product of wine production, are pressed to make grape seed oil. You can use the oil in the kitchen for cooking, which can add flavor and provide certain nutrients to your dishes, and in extracts for medicinal use. While grape seed oil is used primarily in Europe, it’s becoming more common in the United States.
If you’re looking for a cooking oil to use for those high-temperature dishes, grape seed oil might be a good choice. Grape seed oil has a smoke point of about 420 degrees, according to Martha Stewart. When oils start to smoke at their top temperature, the oils generate toxic fumes and harmful free radicals. Because of its high smoke point, grape seed oil is good for deep-frying, sautéing, baking and stir-frying.
Beyond its use as a cooking oil, grape seed oil can be used in many recipes, like salad dressings and mayonnaise, and for drizzling on foods. Because grape seed oil is a good substitute for extra virgin olive oil, you can use it like you would olive oil, like for dipping bread.
Grape seed oil also has nutritional value. The oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can boost energy levels and help your body burn fat. It also includes other important nutrients your body needs, such as omega-3s, omega-9s, vitamins C and E and beta-carotene. For instance, 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil contains 3.92 milligrams of vitamin E and 9.5 grams of total polyunsaturated fats.
Grape seed extract – generally sold as a nutritional supplement – can increase the level of antioxidants in your blood, the University of Maryland Medical Center says. Antioxidants can destroy harmful free radicals that can cause cancer and other health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. UMMC cites various studies illustrating the benefits of taking grape seed extract. The extract helps, for example, with reducing swelling following sports injuries and preventing damage to liver cells caused by chemotherapy treatments in cancer patients.
- Bon Appetite: In the Kitchen: Grapeseed Oil
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Grape Seed
- Martha Stewart.com: Grapeseed Oil 101
- New York Times: In Leftovers of Winemaking, a Versatile Oil
- Napa Valley Register: Local Company Processing Varietal Grapeseed Oil
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Nutrient Data for 04517, Oil, Grapeseed
Lucy D'Berry has been a writer for nearly 30 years, specializing in nutrition and health issues, as well as in education and government. She has written for daily newspapers and edits a national magazine. She has earned both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in the communications field.