Vegetable oils are oils exclusively extracted from seeds or other parts of fruits. Like normal animal fats, vegetable fats are a blend of triglycerides. Grape seed oil, soybean oil, and cocoa butter are examples of seed oils. Palm oil, olive oil, and the famous rice bran oil are examples of fat fruit oils. In general usage, vegetable oil may apply solely to vegetable fats which are liquid at normal temperature. Vegetable oils are edible; non-edible oils derived from petroleum are mineral oils.
Vegetable oils have been an integral part of human culture for millennia. Humans used rapeseed, poppy seed, almond oil, linseed, sesame seed, cottonseed, and safflower since the Bronze Age throughout the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa. Vegetable oils have been extensively utilized for cooking, lighting fuel, medicine, and lubrication. Ancient Chinese started to use veggie oil for stir-frying rather than animal fats during the Song dynasty (960CE-).
Palm oil has long been identified in Central and West African countries, and European merchants trading with West Africa sometimes bought palm oil for use as a cooking oil in Europe. British traders made them highly sought-after commodities for use as a manufacturing lubricant for machinery during Britain’s infamous Industrial Revolution. Palm oil formed the heart of soap products, such as Unilever (then Lever Brothers’) “Sunlight” soap, and the American Palmolive brand. By around 1870 CE, palm oil formed the primary export of some African countries.
In 1780 CE, Carl Wilhelm Scheele proved that fats were derived from glycerol. Thirty years later, Michel Eugène Chevreul concluded that these fats were esters of glycerol and fatty acids. German Chemist Wilhelm Normann injected the hydrogenation of liquid fats in 1901 CE, creating what later became famously known as trans fats, leading to the evolution of the global production of vegetable shortening.
In the early-modern USA, cottonseed oil was marketed by Procter & Gamble as a creamed shortening in 1911 CE. Ginning mills were happy to have someone completely haul away the cotton seeds. The extracted oil was properly refined and partly hydrogenated to harden at room temperature, thus mimicking canned and natural lard under nitrogen gas. Compared to the given lard Procter & Gamble was already selling to customers, Crisco was simpler, cheaper to stir into a recipe, and could be kept at room temperature for two years without turning sour.
Soybean oil has been utilized in China since before historical records. It reached the USA in the 1930s CE. Soy was protein-rich, and the viscosity oil was high in polyunsaturates. Henry Ford built a soybean research laboratory, amplified soybean plastics and a ball of soy-based synthetic wool, and made a car “almost entirely” out of soybeans.