Sunflower oil is an edible vegetable oil obtained from the seeds of the sunflowers scientifically known as ‘Helianthus annuus’ belonging to the botanical family ‘Asteraceae’. It is one of the most popular and consumed oils in the world.
Sunflower oil is mainly used for cooking due to its mild flavour and high smoke point. It is also used as a folk medicine especially for skin care and as biodiesel.
The exact origin of sunflower oil is disputed. However, it is supposed to have originated from somewhere in North America which is believed to be the native place of the sunflower reported to have been cultivated by the indigenous tribes from its original wild variety to today’s single-stemmed cultivar variety more than 4,500 years ago. By 1830 sunflower oil began to be commercially produced in Russia where it became one of the most consumed vegetable oils and was soon introduced to Canada and other regions. Today, it is almost an unavoidable cooking oil throughout the world.
The oil is extracted through several methods like expeller pressing, cold-pressing, etc and the oil can be stored for around 12 months without getting spoiled provided that the same is properly kept away from heat, air and light.
Sunflower oil is considered one of the healthy and nutritious edible oils. It contains fat, saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, carbs, and vitamins E and K. The same is also purported to improve skin, hair and heart health, boost the immune system, help digestion, and prevent asthma, arthritis and certain types of cancer.
The largest producer of sunflower oil in the world is Ukraine, followed by Russia, Argentina, Turkey, France, Hungary, Spain and Romania. The top exporter also is Ukraine, followed by Russia, Netherlands, Bulgaria and Argentina, while the main importers are India, China and the European Union.
In India, the largest producer of sunflower oil is Karnataka, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Bihar.
Some of the major trading markets of sunflower oil in India:
Karnataka (Bellary, Bengaluru, Bijapur, Gulbarga)
Andhra Pradesh (Kurnool, Guntur, Eluru, Vijayawada)
Maharashtra (Latur, Pune, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad)
Tamil Nadu (Chennai, Vellore, Coimbatore, Tirupur)
Names of sunflower oil in different Indian languages:
Hindi Soorajmukhee ka tel
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