Safflower (carthamus tinctorius) is an annual composite plant from
the asteraceae family. This herb is highly branched with many long sharp
spines on the leaves. Plants are generally 30 to 150 cm tall with
globular flower heads (capitula) and commonly, brilliant yellow, orange
or red flowers which bloom in July. It is widely grown for its red or
orange flower heads and seeds that yield a valuable oil. India is the
largest producer of safflower in the world. wih an annual production of
around 2.0 lakh tones.
What is Safflower Oil?
Safflower oil is a flavorless and colorless unsaturated vegetable oil
derived from the seeds of safflower. It contains more polyunsaturates
than any other oil and its higher smoke point makes it good for
deep-frying. Besides this, it is also used for salad dressings because
it doesn’t solidify when chilled. This vegetable oil is also used for
the production of margarine.
It can be used in any recipe where vegetable oil is called for, with
the difference that safflower oil is high in Vitamin E, which is an
antioxidant. As a rich source of fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals,
this oil possess great moisturizing qualities and is thought to be
beneficial in applications for bruises, sprains, and painful arthritis.
It may also be taken as a nutritional supplement.
Safflower Oil Contents
A tablespoon of safflower oil contains approximately 120 calories and 14 grams of fat (a percentage of 21% of the daily allotment for daily value). It has approximate 1 gram of saturated fat, 11 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 2 grams of monounsaturated fat.
Uses of Safflower Oil in a Nutshell
Safflower oil is widely used in variety of applications. Some of them are:
This flavorless and colorless oil is widely used as a cooking oil in salad dressing
Since it has a high smoke point, it is recommended for deep frying
It is also used for the production of margarine
Safflower oil is used in painting in the place of linseed oil, particularly with white, as it does not have the yellow tint which linseed oil possesses
In India and Afghanistan, saffron rice is made with safflower, which gives it an interesting orange color
When applied to skin, it works as a wonderful natural skin moisturizer
It is used in creams to moisturize, soften, and smooth the skin.