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Is it possible to make vegetable shortening at home?

J_Pask Sep 19, 2010 06:03 PM

I was about to buy some organic vegetable shortening, when I wondered if it's possible to make it at home. I couldn't find anything when I searched it, but I thought I'd ask anyways.

  1. septocaine_queen Sep 19, 2010 06:25 PM

    I don't think so because you would have to hydrogenate the liquid oil.


    "Many vegetable oils are high in unsaturated fatty acids. Fatty acids are made up of chains of carbon atoms, each with two chemical arms. Each arm is able to hold two hydrogen atoms. An unsaturated fatty acid is essentially a chain of carbon atoms that is missing hydrogen atoms. Hydrogenation is a process whereby the unsaturated fats are converted into saturated fats.

    Heat and pressure are applied to the oil in the presence of hydrogen gas and a metal catalyst, all within a hydrogenation chamber. The oil, gas, and metal catalyst---often nickel---interact within the chamber for several hours. Hydrogen atoms basically force their way into the hydrogen vacancies left in the unsaturated fatty acids. When this happens, the fatty acids straighten out and the oil becomes solid."

    and if you could i think it would be more inexpensive to purchase versus make.

    1 Reply
    1. re: septocaine_queen
      J_Pask Sep 20, 2010 10:31 AM

      Thanks for the article. That cleared up some of my confusion. I did find some I could buy, thank you!

    2. Indirect Heat Sep 20, 2010 11:57 AM

      All you need is a platinum catalyst, high pressure, heat and a hydrogen supply. Be careful, you don't want the hydrogen to explode.

      In all seriousness, no, it would be nigh impossible for you to safely make vegetable shortening at home.

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