‘Vegetable’ Oil

hey - I picked up a free bag of chips on my way through the Pitt move-in madness.  I was bored while I ate them, so was reading the back of the package.  The 2nd ingredient was vegetable oil (after potatoes, which was nice), and then in parentheses, it said “(contains one or more of the following: corn, peanut, cottonseed, soybean, and/or sunflower oil)”.  None of those struck me as a vegetable.  I count a grain, 2 legumes, a fiber and, what - a flower?  Does the “vegetable” in “vegetable oil” have anything to do with the source of the oil, or is it taking advantage of the perception that corn is a vegetable?



All toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads. I count a grain, 2 legumes, a fiber, a flower—and 5 vegetables.

Whereas some botanical categories are neatly defined (fruit, legume, conifer, etc.), vegetable is a looser term meaning edible vegetation; and, as such, there are many different botanical classifications that all figure into the vegetable category.

Take broccoli, for instance: a vegetable, but also a brassica–along with turnips, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, mustard greens, and more.  Or tomatoes: a vegetable, but also a fruit.  Or corn: a grain but also a vegetable.

Hope this helps!

4 Responses to “‘Vegetable’ Oil”

  1. Echo Says:

    I sincerely hope that people do not assume that because something contains “vegetable oil” it contains “vegetables” — the oils are processed from the seeds of the aforementioned plants, not the plants (or “vegetables”) themselves. Vegetable oil is a generic term that does cover the above sources and others as well, and for various reasons, does NOT include oils like OLIVE OIL, and for obvious reasons is meant to be distinguished from such products as MINERAL OIL or anything else we surely wouldn’t want to be eating.

  2. Mom Says:

    Each of these seeds contains very little oil, so it takes a lot of each to produce all the oil that we use. I saw once that it takes 13 ears of corn to produce 1 teaspoon of corn oil.

    The bottom line is that all fats and oils contain the same number of calories–about 100 per Tablespoon.

  3. jwsharrard Says:

    Also, baby oil is not really made from babies—surprising, but true!

  4. MIL Says:

    I am so glad you cleared up the mystery of the baby oil ingredient….I have been worried about that for many years. ;0)

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