I received a bottle of Pompeian Grape Seed Oil in order to test it in my own kitchen and gather information for this post. My recipes, below, are entered in a contest and I could win an all-expense paid trip to BlogHer Food ’13. No monetary compensation was received for this post and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
I’ve apparently been living under a rock somewhere, with no access to the most vital outside information. How could I have missed this? Do you know about grape seed oil? I’m ashamed to admit, until last week, I had never heard of it. So, I did a little online investigating and was shocked to see that, apparently, EVERYONE except me already knows about it and is excited about the potential health benefits, as well as using it to replace butter in their favorite recipes.
Grape seed oil is made by pressing the discarded seeds of grapes, left after wine making. Some of the articles I read, suggest that grape seed oil has some pretty impressive health benefits since it is rich in Vitamin E, flavonoids, Vitamin C, antioxidants and beta carotene. It may be helpful in regulating blood sugar and protecting the body from health problems caused by free radicals. Because grape seed oil can suppress the production of histamine, there are even studies being conducted to see if it might be helpful in reducing the effects of allergies and asthma. It is also used in many skin care products, since it has astringent properties that help to tighten skin. Some people have found it helpful in treating acne and that it may protect skin from the sun. It’s easily absorbed by the skin, since it is so light and many believe it is particularly good for skin around the eyes.
When it comes to cooking, I had no difficulty discerning grape seed oil’s benefits, on my own. It’s a very light oil and I found that whether I was making sweet or savory dishes, the oil did not overpower or change the flavor in my recipes, at all. It has a very high smoke point, higher than butter or olive oil, and that means it may also work as an alternative to butter for frying, stir frying and even deep-fat frying. I haven’t had a chance to use it in any dressings or vinaigrettes, yet, but because it is such a light oil, without any overpowering flavors to compete with other ingredients, I think it would be a delicious complement in most salad dressing recipes.
I’m not going to lie. When it comes to replacing butter in my recipes, I’m a hard sell. I love what butter does for flavor and texture, when I’m cooking or baking. And if you’ve been around the blog for very long, you know that from my recipes. So, to really put Pompeian Grape Seed Oil to the test, I decided it was not going to be enough to try it in just one recipe. I wanted to replace butter in both a savory and a sweet recipe, to see the results. My two recipes that I believe are most dependent on the butter for the reasons, mentioned above, are Chocolate Butter Cake and my Better than Cream of Chicken Sauce. I altered both recipes to substitute grape seed oil for the butter. No one was more surprised than me! Texture and flavor were virtually unchanged in both recipes. The cake was not quite as moist as when we make it with butter, but the flavor was spot on and the whole family loved it. There was no detectable difference in the sauce. It was absolutely perfect. I think you will love BOTH these recipes; and when it comes to savings, ounce for ounce, grape seed oil is slightly less expensive than butter. Money savings AND good for both baking and stove-top cooking –it’s hard to argue with success! Enjoy!
TIP: When substituting oils for butter, in baking, I use a ratio of ¾:1. For example, if your recipe calls for 1 cup of softened butter, substitute 3/4 cup of oil. Otherwise your baked goods may be too “soupy” and not set up correctly. For stove top cooking, I use a 1:1 ratio (equal amounts of oil substituted for butter).