A lot of urban households are switching over to refined oils as they believe that mustard oil is unhealthy. However, Dheeraj Singh, former director of Directorate of Rapeseed-Mustard Research (DRMR) says that using kachchi ghani mustard oil is healthier than other refined oils, as its nutrition value remains intact and is healthy for the body.
Singh added that Rajasthan is the largest producer of mustard in India and contributes 50% of the production in the country. In Rajasthan, the maximum amount of mustard oil is extracted using the kachchi ghani process, which refers to cold press extraction of oil from seeds.
He said that oil extracted through kachchi ghani process is unrefined oil. Earlier, bullocks used to move in a circular motion and crush oilseed with a the stone roller in a wooden drum to extract oil. Now with automation, steel drum and steel rollers are used, but oilseeds are crushed slowly in the same way as the animals used to do.
He was at the five-day International Seminar on Oilseed Brassica (ISOB), which has been organised by the State Institute of Agriculture Management, (SIAM) Jaipur and Indian Council of Agriculture Research -Directorate of Rapeseed-Mustard Research, Bharatpur.
Dr Singh said that Dr SC Manchanda, senior consultant in the department of cardiology at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi, had written an article that was published in Indian Heart Journal in 2016 which mentioned that non-refined mustard oil is the healthiest for Indian cooking.
He said mechanical and chemical processes are used to extract and refine oil using solvents and hexane and heated at very high temperature, which affects the quality of oil and it is not healthy for consumption.
SIAM director Shital Prasad Sharma said mustard oil has antioxidants, vitamin E, Omega 3 and omega 6 and others. He mentioned that around 11 million tonnes of Palmolein oil is imported in India of which one million tonne is distributed through public distribution system in Tamil Nadu and Kerala and rest of the oil is used for adulteration with other oils.
He added that in Rajasthan mustard is grown on30 lakh hectares and the yield is 13 quintals per hectare, whereas in India mustard is sown on 6.5 million hectares and production is 7.9 million tonnes. In Rajasthan, mustard is mostly grown in areas like Sriganganagar, Alwar, Bharatpur and Kota.