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“When oil is refined, it loses a lot of nutrients but cold pressing it in a chekku ensures that you retain all of it,” says the 35-year-old who works in a software firm. “I wanted to ensure that I use healthy oil in my daily cooking.”
Traditionally, south India was known for using cold pressed oil. Bullocks were led around the ‘chekku’, turning the wooden crusher to extract oil. It was sold loose and people would head to the mills with containers to collect it. Later, industrialised, refined oils took over the market, but now the wheel seems to have come full circle, with people heading back to the ‘chekku’.
Cold pressing is a technique in which the oil is mechanically pressed from the seeds at temperatures not exceeding 120F. “The nutrients, which are usually destroyed by heat while refining, are retained in this method,” says Meenakshi Bajaj, dietician, Tamil Nadu government Multi Super Speciality Hospital. Pure cold-pressed oil is not refined, processed or deodorised. “It is also rich in antioxidants, which boosts immunity. Cold pressed coconut oil also retains lauric acid, which has plenty of therapeutic benefits.”
In the earlier days oil was prepared in traditional method using chekku. Bullocks were used to move around the marachekku(wooden pestle) and oil seeds in the chekku were crushed without generating any heat. The same system is replicated by replacing Bullocks with a Motor and Gearbox.The wooden pestle revolves at a speed of 14 rotations per minute. This is to ensure that oil is not heated and no nutrients is lost.
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