The world is currently confronted with an intertwined challenge of boosting food production while simultaneously reducing resource consumption and mitigating environmental impacts. This is also a result of increasing demand for sustainable and healthier food choices. As people have become more conscious about their dietary habits and the environmental impact of their food choices, there is a growing interest in understanding the journey of food from farm to table.
With this background, we will embark on the sustainable journey of mustard oil production. We will start from the sowing of seeds, explore the production process, and the utilization of its byproducts with the aim of fostering a more sustainable and health-conscious way of life.
Cultivating Mustard: A Sustainable Crop
The journey of edible mustard oil begins with the cultivation of mustard seeds. Mustard is a sustainable crop that requires minimal water and fertilizer compared to other oilseed crops. Mustard has a very high oil content of 40% as against 18% in soybean. It can thrive in a wide range of climates and soil conditions, making it adaptable to diverse agricultural regions.
Additionally, mustard plants have a positive impact on soil health, reducing erosion and enhancing soil fertility. Furthermore, the cultivation of mustard plants itself contributes to biodiversity preservation. Mustard fields provide habitats for various beneficial insects and pollinators, thereby supporting ecosystem balance. For instance, the cultivation of mustard also supports beekeeping. The bees pollinate and can increase the yield of mustard by up to 20 percent. Bee-keeping is also an additional source of income for the farmers through honey and beeswax.
Organic Farming and Biodiversity Preservation
Some farmers opt for organic farming methods in mustard cultivation. Organic farming practices prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, promoting biodiversity and ecological balance. This approach guarantees the production of superior-quality mustard seeds while safeguarding soil health and the surrounding ecosystems. As a result, the mustard oil derived from these seeds is also of elevated quality. For instance, P Mark Organic Mustard Oil has been created with high-quality seeds that are sourced from certified organic farms that do not use either chemical fertilizers or chemical products.
Cold Pressing: A Sustainable Extraction Method
The extraction of edible mustard oil follows a sustainable process known as cold pressing. In this method, the seeds are grounded at room temperature and then placed in a press where they are slowly crushed to release their oils naturally. Unlike conventional methods that involve high heat and chemical solvents, cold pressing preserves the nutritional content of the oil while minimizing energy consumption resulting in zero greenhouse gas emissions. This method ensures that the oil retains its natural flavor, aroma, and beneficial compounds, making it a healthier and more sustainable option for culinary use. For instance, P Mark Kachi Ghani Mustard Oil has been produced by cold pressing method for more than 80 years now.
Cold Pressing method being used at Puri Oil Mills Limited
Utilizing by-products of Mustard Oil
The production and utilization of mustard oil contributes to environmental benefits and the circular economy, where waste is transformed into valuable resources, reducing the environmental footprint of the overall production process. Mustard oil production generates byproducts such as mustard cake and mustard bran. Mustard cake can be used as organic fertilizer or animal feed, providing a sustainable alternative to synthetic fertilizers and reducing waste. For instance, P Mark Cattle Feed & Oil Cake (Khal) serves as an excellent animal feed with approximately 7% residual saturated oil content. It adheres to the quality standards set by the Indian Standards Institute (ISI).
P Mark Cattle Feed & Oil Cake (Khal)
Mustard bran is the outer layer of the mustard seed, commonly separated from ground mustard during processing. It is rich in fiber and nutrients and is incorporated into various food products. For instance, it is often added to sauces to increase the thickness of the final product.
The utilization of these byproducts not only reduces waste but also contributes to the overall sustainability of the mustard oil production process. By transforming what would otherwise be considered waste into valuable resources, the circular economy approach ensures more efficient and environmentally friendly use of available materials.
The sustainable journey of edible mustard oil from farm to table showcases the interconnectedness of our food choices with the environment and our well-being. By opting for mustard oil, consumers can embrace a sustainable lifestyle, supporting organic farming practices, biodiversity preservation, and the utilization of byproducts. From the cultivation of mustard seeds to the cold pressing method and waste utilization, every step of the journey highlights the importance of sustainable practices in our food system. Puri Oil Mills Ltd. sets a remarkable example of commitment as its manufacturing process generates zero direct carbon emissions. Let us make conscious choices and contribute to a greener, healthier future by embracing the sustainable journey of edible mustard oil.