Plum oil is a gourmet oil that is prized for its almondlike aroma and marzipan-type flavor. Primarily used as a flavoring agent in cooking, it is made by splitting open plum kernels and pressing them very slowly through mechanical devices. Possessing large amounts of vitamin E, this oil has a golden yellow color with fruity accents and is widely used to enhance the flavor of pastries, salad dressings, and marinades. First used in France for its ability to impart an almond flavor to sweets and as a more complex tasting substitute for almond oil, this nut oil has gained great popularity in restaurants that seek to give innovative touches to their dishes.
Processing plum kernels to obtain the oil involves collecting the kernels and washing and drying them. They are then cracked, and the almonds within the pits are pressed slowly until the oil seeps out. In addition to its exotic flavor and aroma, this nut oil is considered to be extremely healthy and has been certified by the French Food and Safety Administration as a source of vitamin E. It contains no trans fat and has about 70 percent oleic acid, making it very stable at high heat, allowing it to be fried up to around 180 degrees Centigrade (356 degrees Fahrenheit). Once a bottle of plum oil has been opened, storing it in a cool and dry place will ensure its longevity and increase its shelf life, which is around one and a half years.
Used in a myriad of ways, it can complement fruity sauces, perfume vegetables, flavor mayonnaise, and it can be drizzled on fruits like grapefruits and strawberries. It leaves behind a delicate perfume when used as a vinaigrette on seafood or as an ingredient in marinades or sauces. Combining well with diverse ingredients, such as armangnac, balsamic vinegar, canapes, and milk cream, it can be used to create many original dishes. In the pastry industry, it is used to perfume muffins and pancakes and accentuate mousse, paste creams, toffees, and cakes.
Sometimes used as a finishing oil on hot meals, plum oil can also be sprinkled over entrées; it only needs a few drops because the flavor is quite strong. Some of its more exotic uses involve mixing it with ice creams, salad dressings, or dark chocolate or sprinkling it on tapas or sushi. Another property of this oil is its ability to blend well with other neutral tasting oils, making it possible to add an exotic almond aroma to culinary creations. It balances salty, sweet, and other flavors really well and introduces a heady note of almond into the mix. Considered to be an extremely sophisticated oil, plum oil has been incorporated into some of the best dishes in France.
Also part of some of the most luxurious cosmetics because of its high fatty acids content, it leaves no residue on the skin. Plum oil is extensively used in body care applications within the cosmetic industry because of its rich vitamin E content, higher percentage of tocopherols, and unique almond aroma. It has applications as an emollient oil in lipsticks, baby massage creams, moisturizing creams, and antiaging creams. Greatly valued for its beneficial effects on dry and mature skin, plum oil easily penetrates, giving skin a silky yet dry appearance.