superfood snapshot: everything you want to know about red palm oil

We are well aware of the common perceptions red palm oil brings, so we wanted to set the record straight and give you accurate information on everything you want to know about red palm oil.


what is red palm oil?

To put it simply, red palm oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree (Elaeis guineensis). It is referred to as “red palm oil” because of the rich, dark red color of the palm berry fruit.


what does red palm oil taste like?

You may not yet be familiar with the amazing nutrition and taste of red palm oil, but for over 5,000 years it has been a staple of indigenous cultures. Legend has it that this sacred food was revered for its healthful properties and entombed with the pharaohs of ancient Egypt for their enjoyment in the afterlife.

Some red palm oils have what might be described as a harsh or strong odor and flavor. We have a proprietary cold-filtration process that results in a delicate, buttery flavor excellent for cooking and baking. We’re often asked if our red palm oil is raw. Fresh-harvested organic palm fruit bunches are steamed to release the oil from the fruit, then expeller-pressed to further separate the oil. All palm oil is extracted in this way; there is no 100 percent raw red palm oil. This steam extraction / cold-filtration process helps retain the wonderful nutrient benefits.


what are the nutritional benefits of red palm oil?

Red palm oil is a nutrient-dense culinary oil. Its rich orange color reveals the presence of antioxidant vitamins A and E, in the forms of beta-carotene and rare tocotrienols and tocopherols of the vitamin E family. These nutrients provide color to vegetables and fruits such as carrots and tomatoes. Red palm oil also contains at least ten other carotenes, including the antioxidants, tocopherols and tocotrienols (vitamin E). The end result is a delicious buttery oil with a mild carroty flavor.


I heard that palm oil is destroying the environment and wildlife habitats. is this true?

Sadly, this is true. The demand for palm kernel oil (from the white kernel, not the red fruit) driven primarily by American snack food companies is causing rampant deforestation and habitat destruction in Southeast Asia. This ingredient is desirable for big food companies because it is highly processed (making it very shelf stable) and also inexpensive. [Click HERE for a list of the top 20 Snack Food Companies driving the demand for palm oil.] It is used in many packaged foods and household products, everything from cookies and chips to nut butters and shaving cream. [Click HERE to learn about the every day products that contain palm oil that will surprise you.] This increasing demand has resulted in the deliberate burning or clearing of rainforests, and the planting of massive palm oil plantations. Palm oil sourced in this way is rightfully referred to as “Conflict Palm Oil,” not only because of the devastating environmental impact, but also because of human rights offences. Orangutans are found only in the lowland forests of Borneo and Sumatra in Southeast Asia. The lowland forest habitats are disappearing quickly due to logging and deliberate burning in order to build these palm oil plantations. Orangutans are the only great apes found in Asia. 60 percent of their diet consists of fruit, and protection of the orangutan habitat is essential to their survival. Scientists warn that orangutans could become extinct within our lifetime if their rainforest homes continue to be destroyed! {Learn more HERE}


so if it’s doing all this harm, then why are you selling it?

We are just as passionate about the environment as you are. The difference is that our red palm oil is responsibly sourced and sustainable. Palm oil grown in Southeast Asia is associated with destruction of rainforest and orangutan habitat, but Nutiva Organic Red Palm is grown on small organic family farms in Ecuador. The region in Ecuador where our Organic Unrefined Red Palm Oil is grown has numerous small family farms, averaging 10 hectares (about 25 acres), interspersed throughout the regional forests. These subsistence farms were planted many years ago and are now being worked by second and third generation farming families.


but how can you be absolutely sure?

We partnered with Natural Habitats to ensure that no deforestation or habitat destruction results from the growing or harvesting process. Natural Habitats seeks to empower and support farmers. Committed to the sustainable production of organic and fairly traded products, they also contribute to social development in the community through education and nutrition programs by allocating 1% of sales to social and environmental stewardship programs. Projects have included building a small health clinic and providing sports uniforms for the local youth.


what certifications does your palm oil carry?

Our Red Palm is certified Organic, Non-GMO and Fair Trade. Recently, we also acquired RSPO certification. It is also unrefined, vegan, cold-filtered, non-hydrogenated (zero trans fats!), habitat-friendly and orangutan-safe.


how do I use red palm oil?

It’s ideal for soups, sauces and sautéing. It also turns regular popcorn into delicious (and healthy!) movie theater-style popcorn. Click HERE to learn 20 more ideas for using Nutiva Organic Unrefined Red Palm Oil. (Note: No refrigeration required. Solid at cooler temperatures; easier to spoon if chilled. To melt, place jar in warm water. Specks and variations in color and consistency occur naturally in this unrefined oil. The deep color can stain some utensils or porous surfaces.)


Question: Have you tried red palm oil before? If so, how do you like to use it?

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