Peanut oil, also known as groundnut oil or arachis oil, is a mild-tasting vegetable oil derived from peanuts. The oil is available with a strong peanut flavor and aroma, analogous to sesame oil.
Unrefined peanut oil has a smoke point of 320°F/160°c.  and is used as a flavorant for dishes akin to sesame oil. The refined peanut oil has a smoke point of 450°F/232c is commonly used for frying volume batches foods like french fries.
Its major component fatty acids are oleic acid (46.8% as olein), linoleic acid (33.4% as linolein), and palmitic acid (10.0% as palmitin). The oil also contains some stearic acid, arachidic acid, behenic acid, lignoceric acid and other fatty acids.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||3,699 kJ (884 kcal)|
Fat percentage can vary.
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Highly refined peanut oil can contain traces of hexane, a petroleum byproduct used to maximize separation of oil from the solids of peanuts. The EPA identifies hexane as a neurotoxin in rat studies. There are no specific regulations on the limits of hexane use in cooking oils. If quality control is neglected, peanuts that contain the mold that produces highly toxic aflatoxin can end up contaminating the oil derived from them.
Vitamin E is added as a preservative to refined peanut oil, which can be an issue for persons on blood-thinning medications, if consumed excessively.
Those allergic to peanuts can consume highly refined peanut oil, but should avoid first-press, organic oil.
Most highly refined peanut oils remove the peanut allergens and have been shown to be safe for "the vast majority of peanut-allergic individuals". However, cold-pressed peanut oils may not remove the allergens and thus could be highly dangerous to people with peanut allergy.
Shortage of whale oil in the Confederacy made peanut oil an attractive alternative during the American Civil War. The oil had increased use in the United States during World War II, because of war shortages of other oils.
Peanut oil, as with other vegetable oils, can be used to make soap by the process of saponification. The oil is safe for use as a massage oil. Peanut researcher George Washington Carver marketed a peanut massage oil.
At the 1900 Paris Exhibition, the Otto Company, at the request of the French Government, demonstrated that peanut oil could be used as a source of fuel for the diesel engine; this was one of the earliest demonstrations of biodiesel technology.
Some medicines and vitamins use arachis oil as a suspension agent.
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