Cotton More than Fluffy Fiber According to Cotton Inc. Research

Recently, at the 2012 Cotton Field Day, Tom Wedegaertner, director of cotton seed research & marketing for Cotton Inc. was demonstrating a cotton product that’s not the first thing you think of when you think of the fluffy fiber; flavored cotton seed oils:

“There are a few reasons why we are doing this. One is that a lot of people don’t realize that cotton is grown and raised and regulated as a food crop. Consumption of cotton oil is about three pints per person per year. We wanted to start educating the public that cotton is a food product. The textile industry does not view cotton as a food crop. We are also ready to release some other edible products including the cotton seed kernel and cotton seed protein. We have some new innovation that will allow those to be consumed in addition the the oil which has been consumed for a long time.”

Wedegaertner explains that cotton seed oil is commonly used, just most people don’t know it:

“Cotton seed oil is a great oil for cooking and for salads. It has a light texture and a great mouth feel. People are not familiar with it because they don’t see it on the store shelves. It is used in the food service industry and in packaged snack foods.”

And according to Wedegaertner, cotton seed oil is on the comeback as a premium cooking oil not replacing olive oils, but doing the things that olive oil can’t:

“The cold pressed oils that haven’t been refined but still have a lot of the flavors and antioxidants in them are great to use in salad dressing, pasta and other things like that. But they aren’t good in a frying pan. We wanted a premium oil that would not only impart flavor, but could be used in the frying pan or could be drizzled over pizza. These cotton seed oils are multi-purpose.”

While the bottles of flavored cotton seed oils that were being handed out at the Cotton Field Day can’t be found in the grocery store at the moment, Wedegaertner says they can be had:

“We are in the research phase. We are looking at flavors and the package design. There are five ounce bottles available on the web HERE.”

For more from the 2012 Cotton Field Day, visit our website, click here

Director of cotton seed research & marketing for Cotton Inc., Tom Wedegaertner is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.