Walnut oil is mainly used, unheated, as an ingredient to add zest and flavour to salad dishes, as a vinaigrette, as a mixer in cold sauces and brushed on to cooked dishes just prior to serving. It goes particularly well this way with fish, steamed vegetables, roast pumpkin and sweet potatoes. It is also popular when tossed in cooked pasta along with your favourate spices. Generally walnut oil is not heated as the flavour is altered and it can easily become slightly bitter.
Walnut oil is a healthy and nutritious food. It is high in polyunsaturated (healthy) fats and has 30% more nutritional benefit than the equivalent amount of walnut kernals. See Walnut Nutrition page for details of walnut nutrition.
Unrefined walnut oil is extracted from dried cold-pressed nuts. Good quality walnut oil is topaz in color with a rich nutty taste.
Oil from roasted walnuts has a stronger, richer flavour than the more delicate flavour of cold-pressed nut oil. Roasted walnut oil is extracted after the hydraulic pressing of walnut paste following the roasting process. Taste is influenced by the manner and timing of the roasting and oil extraction processes (the less the pressure the more delicate the flavour),
Walnut oil can last up to about 12 months but once opened should be refrigerated or kept in a cool, dark place to prevent it going rancid
- Walnut Oil Extraction (Australian Organic Walnut Products)
Other uses for walnut oil include:
- Use of walnut oil as a wood polish
- Use of walnut oil in the preparation of paints
- Walnut oil health care applications
Walnut oil, combined with beeswax, is a professional and popular nontoxic wood polish choice for wood finishes and furniture. The low rancidity and safety of walnut oil results in its frequent use on wooden bowls, cutting boards and other wooden implements which come into contact with food.
For a lightweight alternative to the walnut oil and beeswax mixture, try mixing equal parts of walnut oil and lemon juice with a few drops of essential oil such as lavendar for a refreshing smelling polish.
When french polishing, the addition of walnut oil to the rubbing fabric assists in preventing previously applied layers of shellac from lifting, and provides a more durable finish.
- Why walnut oil does not go rancid when used for wood finishing (Wellwood Walnuts website)
- Mixing and applying walnut oil and beeswax as a wood polish (The Canary Report)
Walnut oil has a long history of use in the preparation of artist’s paints. Walnut oil has the advantage of being quick drying, a good thinner and maintains the health and pliability of brushes. Inclusion of walnut oil assists in preventing paint cracking and theyellowing of paintings with age.
Although many artists these days opt for modern substitutes, the traditional use of walnut oil still has a strong following.
If using pure walnut oil it wll need to be kept refrigerated and has a shelf life of about 6 months. Estimates on shelf life vary from 6 to 12 months. Present day commercial walnut oil based artists products are refined to prevent rancidity.
While walnut oil should not be used by those with nut allergies, it remains a popular health care product and has numerous health applications:
- Blended with essential and aromatic oils, walnut oil is a popular massage agent as it is quick drying, non-greasy and refreshes, moisturises and rejuvinates the skin.
- As a moistuiser walnut oil is used to treat wrinkles around the eyes. Included in creams, walnut oil aids dry and aging skin and can be used as a lip balm. It is also included in some hair products to moisturise and add body and shine to hair.
- Walnut oil is extensively used in relieving and combating a range of skin problems including psoriasis, aczema and various skin infections
- As a suntan oil. See Walnut oil as an ingredient in suntan oil (E How website)