an explorer's club of Wisconsin foods and recipes

Like Sunflowers? Try Their Oil!

sunflower 2

As summer approaches, nearly everyone starts transitioning to eating lighter.  I call it the switch-from-soup-to-salad time of year.  But it’s not just about changing from casseroles to vegetables.  It’s finding lighter everything.  And I just found a lighter oil that you may want to stock  your cupboards with:  Century Sun Oil.

Made in Pulaski, the oil is certified organic, fresh-pressed sunflower oil.  Dale and Pam Johnson founded Century Sun Oil in 2009 on their 130-year-0ld family farm just outside Pulaski.  They partner with nearby organic dairy farmers and have repurposed the Johnson farm’s dairy buildings for oil production.  The Johnsons provide the high oleic sunflowers seeds to the area farmers and both monitor the crops.  They also provide a high protein meal that can be fed back to the farmers’ cows for improved milk production and better health.

What’s “high oleic?”  The Johnsons describe it as a type of healthy fat found in sunflower oil.  That begins with the highest quality seed which, in turn, produces the best ratios of Omega 3, 6 and 9 fats.  It’s healthy because it’s the main fat found in our skin and adipose tissue, according to Century Sun Oil web site.

Because it’s fresh-pressed — or cold-pressed — it preserves all the natural vitamins and minerals.

Pam shared that all this started because “we had 10 acres of land we wanted to do something special with.  We both love food, so we tried sunflowers.”  Since then the Johnsons are constantly reviewing the oil and have changed methods of productions for optimal taste and high cooking temperatures (smoke point).  Sunflower oils, along with peanut and soybean oils, can reach a higher temperature than regular oils — from 350-450 — allowing for deep frying.

Pam sent me a bottle to try and it was a treat!  Just the look of the oil in the bottle — a lovely clear yellow, with no oil distortion — was appetizing.  It has a light, nutty taste.  I made a pomegranate vinaigrette with it  and it was a light, frothy mixture that blended really well.  So well, I may not go back to olive oil.  I also made popcorn with it and it was also a lighter fluffier version than using other oils.

I will be trying other uses, as Pam said the oil blends well with other flavors, making it work well in stir frys and baking.  And she also said it mixes well with butter.

If you’re curious and want to try yourself, Century Sun Oil is available at Festival Foods (look in the organic aisle) and Metcalfe’s.  And if you don’t live near either of those — the Johnsons are in the process of having their website re-done, so there will be a shopping cart there in the near future.

Have a good weekend!  More pantry ideas next Friday.

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