Napa Valley Oils 101

Napa Valley Oils 101

August 30th, 2019 • York, Maine
Written by: Margaux Maertens, Communications Specialist

I must admit, I use olive oil for just about all my cooking – am I the only one? It’s worked for me but I know that my dishes could be elevated significantly when accompanied by the best recommended oil. When Napa Valley Naturals joined our family, I wanted to learn what oils to use and when it’s best to use them. What’s the difference between Avocado Oil and Sunflower Oil? Can I use Grapeseed Oil instead of olive oil? With the help of our Buyer, Jay, and our Recipe Development Specialist, Stephanie, I learned some great facts about our Napa Valley Naturals products. Here is a breakdown on some of the oils that may help you decide which product to use the next time you cook!



Avocado oil is one of the few edible oils that is not derived by seeds. It’s buttery with an overall neutral flavor making it compare well with olive oil. Napa Valley Naturals Avocado Oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids and has a high smoke point, an excellent oil for frying.

Ways to use Avocado Oil

  • Add to some of your favorite spices in a Ziploc bag and mix to make a light and fresh tasting marinade!
  • Some olive oils have a strong taste, so instead of using olive oil in baked goods, you can try using avocado oil for a milder and nuttier taste!
  • Because avocado oil has a high smoke point, it’s a great oil to use for making homemade kale or potato chips!

Sunflower oil, or sunflower seed oil, is a vegetable oil that is extracted from the fatty kernels of sunflower. It has a light color and a mild taste. It’s a recommended cooking oil by the American Heart Association because of its low saturated fat content. All types of sunflower oil are an excellent source of vitamin E and provide a small amount of vitamin K. This oil also has a high smoking point and is often used for deep frying.

Ways to use Sunflower Oil

  • Use as a substitute for butter for baked goods such as cookies, cakes or brownies.
  • Use as a base for salad dressings.

Grapeseed oil is obtained from the seeds of grapes and is primarily produced in Mediterranean countries with big volumes of seeds coming from wine and raisin production.

It has a fairly neutral flavor and a high smoke point making it good for frying and cooking at high heat. It’s a great everyday oil and is a safe substitute for olive oil.

Ways to use Grapeseed Oil

  • A great option for searing meat.
  • Toss with vegetables before roasting.

Peanut oil is a mild-tasting oil derived from peanuts. The Aromatic Peanut Oil has an enhanced peanut flavor and aroma that comes from roasting the peanuts prior to pressing. This oil is perfect for a specialty cooking oil when looking to enhance peanut flavor in dishes, such as South Asian, Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine. With a high smoke point, the Aromatic Peanut Oil can be used for deep-frying, pan-frying, roasting and grilling.

Ways to use Peanut Oil

  • Use in Asian stir fries to enhance your dish with a slight peanut flavor.
  • Great for deep frying spring rolls.

In general, culinary oils are neutral and mild-tasting. They do not impact the flavor of other ingredients when cooking. They serve as a medium to transfer heat but also gets absorbed by food. However, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is an exception from other cooking oils because it has a range of flavor and can have buttery, spicy, fruity or grassy notes. The flavor extra virgin olive oil has depends on the olive varietal, region, growing conditions, etc. The Rich & Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil has enhanced flavors made from olive varietals that have a strong, peppery finish, a distinct bitterness and very intense flavors on the front end of the palate.

Ways to use Rich & Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Combine with a balsamic vinegar for bread dipping.
  • Dressing on fresh salads or boiled vegetables.
  • Use in an olive oil cake recipe.
  • Commonly used for sautéing or frying.


Margaux Maertens • Communications Specialist

Margaux joined the Stonewall Kitchen family two years ago as the Events and Marketing Coordinator for Stonewall Kitchen where she flipped pancakes at the annual Pancake Breakfast and decorated pumpkins during the Halloween festivities! Margaux became Stonewall Kitchen’s Communications Specialist in February of 2018 and is loving every minute of it.