Cooking with Cottonseed Oil...and Jamie Deen, Y'all!
By: Stacey Gorman
Did you know that cotton has long been grown and regulated as a food crop in the United States, and cottonseed oil is a staple ingredient in all sorts of food products we eat every day? It's true! Cottonseed oil was first bottled in the United States in 1882,several decades after Eli Whitney brought us the cotton gin.
Restaurants and the food service industry have sought out cottonseed oil for years because it enhances the flavor of food without adding an undesirable oily taste (Fun fact: cottonseed oil is the exclusive frying oil for the world famous beignets made at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans). Here are some more facts you may not have known about cottonseed oil (CSO):
- CSO has a high smoke point meaning it tends not to burn, scorch or disappear in the pan - making it great for frying, searing, sautéing and stir-frying. Food is less greasy when cooked quicker, at a higher temperature.
- The clear, clean, light body of CSO leaves no oil-taste halo, so it doesn't cover up the flavor of the food you're cooking. The flavor you want is the flavor you get.
- Rich in antioxidants, CSO contains zero trans fat and zero cholesterol.
Recently, Cotton Incorporated's Cottonseed Research and Marketing program oversaw the development of flavor–infused cottonseed cooking oils that are now available at retail under the brand-name Acala Farms.The oils and the Acala Farms brand are an outgrowth of research conducted by Cotton Incorporated in its efforts to add value to and open new markets for cotton, and in turn, for America's cotton producers. Having a cottonseed oil product available at retail is helping to educate the public that cotton is also a food crop. The oils are mostly available online right now, but will be placed in Kroger stores in the Dallas and Houston markets a little later this year.
Introducing CSO To Jamie Deen
Jamie Deen the cooking extraordinaire wears many hats - restaurateur, entrepreneur, cooking show host, businessman, author, doting husband and father...oh, and son of American cooking and lifestyle icon Paula Deen (whew! He is a busy guy, and I didn't even mention the down-to-earth, super nice guy hat he also wears). Jamie grew up in Albany, Georgia and has been in close proximity to cotton for most of his life, but had never heard of cotton as food crop. Jamie is also an advocate for his state and is all things pro-Georgia (most especially U of GA football - this guy has passion for his team!) and since Georgia produces the second largest volume of cotton in the Unites States he is also pro-cotton. When we got word to Jamie about cooking with CSO he was intrigued and so we sent him a few bottles to play around with in the kitchen. A few weeks later, we joined Jamie for lunch at his Savannah restaurant, The Lady and Sons, to see what he thought about cooking with cottonseed oil.
Left to Right: Monty Bain, Cotton Board Southeast Regional Communication Manager; Tom Wedegaertner, Director of Cottonseed Research and Marketing for Cotton Incorporated; Jamie Deen; Stacey Gorman, Director of Communications for The Cotton Board; and Don Daily, Cotton Ginner from Dexter, GA - in the gift shop at The Lady and Sons)
Jamie was really impressed with the CSO
Jamie was really impressed with the CSO and has become a believer in the product. His favorite element of the oil was its lightness - he loved that it didn't overpower the flavor in the food. In fact, he liked it so much that he decided to feature it in one of the cooking shows he was taping at the time.
The show Jamie taped featuring CSO will air on The Paula Deen Network which launches later this month. This new network works off of your Smart TV or digital devices and has the potential to revolutionize how we view cooking shows, download recipes, create shopping lists and so much more.
This unique partnership with Jamie Deen is just another way the Cotton Research and Promotion Program is promoting cotton as not only the fabric of our lives, but also bringing cotton as food crop to new prominence in kitchens across America.