Sunflower oil history

It is doubtful whether somebody wonders while pouring out on a frying pan or in a salad a portion of sunflower oil from where (in historical and strictly geographical aspect) flows this great and powerful amber river. The source of it is a story closely related to magic flower «heliantus» (from greek helios - sun) – a flower of the sun.

A motherland of sunflower is Northern America. Indians used to consume it, to use it as a medicine, to make coloring agents from it. Inca worship the sunflower as a sacred flower. In 1510 wild growing sunflower was brought from Northern America to Europe by Spaniards. For a long time sunflowers have been grown in the flowerbeds and front gardens as strictly ornamental plant and almost two centuries after it finally reached Russian scopes.

The sunflower got to Russia in the beginning of XVIII century and very likely it is believed the circumstances were the following.

It is said that tsar Petr I while studying in Netherland ship business noticed growing sunflower stem one day in Amsterdam. He hasn’t seen such a flower until then and ordered to send seeds of the plant he liked to St. Petersburg and to plant it at pharmacy vegetable garden. And then for the first time on Russian land a flower of the sun was planted.

In some time a sunflower stepped over fence of «sovereign vegetable garden»and started to rise in landowners country estates. Initially in Russia the sunflower served only as a decoration. Then Russians started nibbling sunflower seeds. Russian academician Severegin wrote in the end of XVIII century that from sunflower seeds that are good meals for parrots oil could be manufactured and coffee prepared. Just like that gradually possibilities of sunflower oil practical usage were open.

The first one who started extracting oil from sunflower seeds was Russian peasant Daniil Semenovich Bokarev. It happened in Russia in 1829 in Alekseevka village on the territory of the present Belgorodskiy region. Serf Bokarev discovered in sunflower seeds a high content of nourishing liquid. He also was the first one who extracted from this seeds the amber-colored product which we today call the sunflower oil. In 1833 in Alekseevka the first creamery was built.

In the XIX century the sunflower oil became a national product. In pre-revolutionary time cream butter was consumed only during the holidays and on the weekdays they used vegetable oils (side by side with sunflower oil mustard, linseed and hemp oils).

Occurring everywhere spreading of sunflower oil was caused by church acceptance it as a Lenten product. To the point modern dietitians are completely at one with the church. Vegetable oils are main source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic and linolenic) which are not synthesized in an organism and are received only with food. They regulate important processes of organism vital functions and exactly they are the best allies in a fight against atherosclerosis, the most frequent cause of cardiovascular diseases and malfunction of cerebral circulation. Sunflower oil suits better not only for dietotherapy but for normal everyday meals.

Sunflower oil today is one of the most important vegetable oils that has huge meaning for national economy. Generally it is used directly as a food. Margarine and culinary fats are manufactured from it (by hydrogenation). Sunflower oil is used for manufacturing tinned food, and although for soap boiling, paint and varnish industry.