Vanaspati Ghee

Vanaspati Ghee

Vanaspati Ghee/Vegetable Fat
Before throwing light on the vanaspati ghee or the vegetable fat, lets discuss vanapati. In Sanskrit, vanaspati refers to the entire plant kingdom including herbs, flowers, seeds, etc. However, in ancient texts like Charaka Samhitā, Sushruta Samhita and the Vaisesikas, it is limited to plants that bear fruits but no evident flowers. But now, it includes everything about plants.

Vanaspati ghee or vegetable fat is obtained by controlled hydrogenation of edible liquid oils/ soft oils, so that its hardness, consistency and rainy appearance resembles natural ghee (clarified butter). The oil is derived from plants and are composed of triglycerides, a glyceride in which the glycerol is esterified with three fatty acids.

Vegetable fats and oils are both edible and inedible. Edible vegetable fats are used as a cooking base, flavour base, etc., whereas in-edible fats are used in many industrial sectors including lubricants, paints, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, etc.

Hydrogenation Process
The chemical reaction caused by adding hydrogen in a compound is termed as hydrogenation. It is usually done to reduce or saturate organic compounds by adding pairs of hydrogen atoms to a molecule in the presence of a catalyst. The elimination of double-bonds by adding hydrogen atoms is called saturation; as the degree of saturation increases, the oil progresses towards being fully hydrogenated. Higher the unsaturation, lower is the melting point of fatty acid.

Vegetable oil contains a considerable amount of organic compounds called ‘Fatty Acids’ comprising of several carbon atoms in a straight chain with hydrogen and oxygen atoms. A fatty acid is said to be

saturated when all the carbon atoms are combined with hydrogen to their full capacity. They are said to be unsaturated when the addition of hydrogen. Higher the unsaturation, lower is the melting point of fatty acid.
Preparation of Vanaspati Ghee

Vegetable seeds are cleaned and bleached to remove all colour, taste, smells and impurities

  • The liquid vegetable oil is then heated to high temperatures and a catalyst
  • Hydrogen is bubbled through the liquid
  • The mixture is then filtered to remove the metal, leaving hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Vanaspati Ghee is one of the most widely used edible cooking oils of the world. Besides cooking, it is also used in various industries to produce many products such as:

  • Soaps
  • Skin Products
  • Candles
  • Perfumes
  • Personal Care Products
  • Cosmetic Products, etc.