When raw cottonseed moves from the gin to a cottonseed oil mill, it is made up of three parts: 1) linters, which are short fibers still clinging to the seed; 2) hulls, a tough, protective coating for the kernel; and 3) the protein and oil rich kernel itself.
Approximately 10-15 percent of a cotton producer’s income comes from cottonseed.
Cottonseed value is determined by the value of the products produced. Therefore, world vegetable oil markets and markets for livestock feed ingredients play a major role in determining the value of cottonseed.
Linters are one of the finest sources of cellulose and are used to produce a variety of things like plastics, rocket propellants, rayon, pharmaceutical emulsions, cosmetics, photography and X ray film, upholstery and fine writing paper … even paper currency.
Kernels are flaked and crushed just like any other oilseed to produce cottonseed oil and meal. Cottonseed oil is America ‘s original vegetable oil. And cottonseed oil is so versatile it can be used in snack foods, salad dressings, and stir frying or baking applications. Cottonseed meal is used in animal feeds as a high protein supplement.
Cottonseed oil is seen by the food industry as a premium oil and, as such, is eagerly sought by prepared food makers. Thus, it is not commonly found bottled on grocery store shelves.