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Healthy shea butter and its many uses

 Healthy shea butter and its many uses

 Healthy shea butter and its many uses 

Shea butter is a creamy fat extracted from the nut of the shea tree. Shea trees are native to West Africa, and most shea butter still comes from that region. Shea butter is solid at warm temperatures and has an off-white or ivory color. It has been used as a cosmetic ingredient for centuries. The tree takes approximately 20 years to bear fruit and produce nuts, and matures on average at 45 years. Most trees will continue to produce nuts for up to 200 years after reaching maturity.

Raw shea butter is butter that has not been filtered or shaped into shapes. Unrefined shea butter is filtered and sometimes shaped. Raw shea butter oil is edible and is used in many recipes. Shea butter oil has a very strong nutty taste and aroma.

Shea butter is extracted from the nut of the shea tree in West Africa and has been used as a cosmetic and therapeutic skin care product for thousands of years. Its origins go back to Egypt during the reign of Cleopatra, where it was carried in large clay vessels for use in cosmetics.

Choosing and storing shea butter for cooking

Shea butter is a fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. Shea butter is rich in vitamins A, D, E and K and is rich in essential fatty acids, stearic acids, linoleic and palmitic acids. Shea butter, also known as women's gold in Africa, plays a very important role in cooking and earning a living wage for millions of African women.

African Shea Butter has been used for centuries in cooking. Most raw, unrefined shea butter comes from producers in Freeka who export the product for further refining. 

To store shea butter, you must:

1. Keep it in a cool place with a maximum temperature of 57°F.

2. Use a zip-top bag, tank, glass container or food-grade plastic bag to store it

3. Air out and cover the shea butter to prevent exposure to heat, light, air and pollutants.

Use shea butter within two years of purchasing it, or six months if you mix it with other products.

Considerations and tips for cooking with shea butter

Grade A unrefined shea butter is safe to eat and many people use it as a type of cooking oil because it is very heat tolerant. Many people use a little of it in their cooking because it adds vitamins and nutrients to your meals. Besides its nutritional value, shea butter also adds an aromatic nutty flavor without adding whole nuts. A fun fact: 80% of all shea butter produced is used in the chocolate industry as a substitute for cocoa butter.

Health benefits of shea butter in cooking

About half of the fat in shea butter is monounsaturated fat (about 6 grams), which is considered a safe type of fat. The other half of the fat (6 grams or so) is saturated fat. Shea butter also contains a small amount of polyunsaturated fat (about 1 gram).

When you eat shea butter, you may get some health benefits from the monounsaturated fats it provides. Monounsaturated fats can help lower LDL cholesterol (also known as “bad” cholesterol) and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Monounsaturated fats can also help cells in your body grow and maintain, but keep in mind that shea butter contains almost the same amount of saturated fat as monounsaturated fat, according to the American Heart Association. Saturated fats are not considered a healthy food because they can lead to high levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.

Studies and research

Shea butter is a high-value shea nut fat used as an edible, antimicrobial and moisturizing oil in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, respectively. Annual global exports of shea nuts from Africa amount to 350,000 metric tons of the grain with a market value of about $120 million to producing countries. The multifunctional properties of shea butter depend strictly on its textural properties: peroxide value, moisture content, level of free fatty acids and insoluble impurities.

Standard Extraction Techniques: Conventional, mechanical, enzymatic and chemical methods have been used to extract shea butter. Current extraction techniques that rely on different extraction parameters to extract shea butter have not yet achieved the desired qualities and efficiency of the butter.

Final thoughts

Shea butter is a versatile and nourishing ingredient used for centuries in many African cuisines. Shea butter, extracted from the nut of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa), is a sought-after ingredient in the food industry due to its unique flavor and numerous health benefits.

Rich in vitamins A, E, and F, as well as essential fatty acids, shea butter is a common ingredient in breads, pastries, sauces, condiments, desserts, ethnic foods, and beverages. Shea butter is a popular ingredient in breads and pastries, and provides a rich, creamy flavor to a wide range of baked goods.

Its unique texture and nutty flavor make it a popular substitute for traditional butter in many recipes, providing a healthier, more flavorful alternative. Traditionally harvested by millions of women from trees managed by gardens across vast expanses of the African savannah, shea butter is one of the oldest edible vegetable oils.

It has been consumed for thousands of years, and its use as food has been documented by famous explorers for centuries; Introduced to Ibn Battuta, during his travels in the mid-14th century, Mungo Park recorded trade while tracing the Niger River during the late 18th century.