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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

10 Palm Oil Trivia

1-The oil palm tree (Elaeis guineensis jacq.) originates from West Africa. First introduced in South East Asia in 1848 when seedlings were planted in Bogor, Indonesia. Brought to Malaysia (then Malaya) by the British in the 1870s as an ornamental plant.

2-In Malaysia, the oil palm trees planted are mainly the tenera variety, a cross-breed between the dura and pisifera types.

3-Palms may grow up to 60 feet and more in height. Each palm produces compact bunches weighing between 5 to 25 kg, with 1,000 to 3,000 fruitlets per bunch. Ripe bunches are commonly known as Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB). palms starts bearing fruits 3 years after field planting and will continue to be productive for the next 20 to 30 years.

4-Malaysia is the world's second largest exporter of palm oil. About 60% of palm oil exports from Malaysia are shipped to China, the European Union, Pakistan, United States and India.

5-Palm oil is one of the few vegetable oils high in saturated fats. It is semi-solid at typical temperate climate room temperatures, though it will more often appear as liquid in warmer countries.

6-Like other vegetable fats, palm oil is free from cholesterol. Studies have shown that palm oil does not ordinarily raise blood cholesterol levels, and in some cases, has been found to lower harmful LDL-cholesterol.

7-Palm oil is rich in carotenoids and Vitamin E (highest content compared to all other vegetable oil). It is also trans-fatty acid (TFA) free.

8-Palm oil is naturally reddish, although when boiled, the oil will turn more of a white shade. The rich shade of red comes from the high amount of carotenes such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lycopene – the same nutrients that give tomatoes, carrots and other fruits and vegetables their rich colors.

9-Palm oil, like other vegetable oils, can be used to create biodiesel. The Malaysian government is encouraging the production of biofuel feedstock and the building of palm oil biodiesel plants.

10-Palm oil is a very common cooking ingredient in south-east Asia and the tropical belt of Africa. Its increasing use in the commercial food industry in other parts of the world is buoyed by its cheaper pricing and the high oxidative stability of the refined product.

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