I was about to post around 4pm this afternoon (3.5 hours ago) about canola oil. But then I started to search the net for more information and kept on reading until now. The end result is TMI! Too much information. In addition, several readers added comments that really opened my eyes on the pros and cons of using such highly refined oils, the cons winning the battle! In this season however, canola is blooming all over France and Germany. You can find it at farmers Markets in the South West of France (lucky me) sold as a vegetable. It is called “broutte” and exclusively comes from organic farms as well as abandoned vineyards (as shown in the picture above) I steam it and serve it cold with a light vinaigrette. DELICIOUS!! You can also pour olive oil on it and put it in the microwave for a few minutes as you would with bok choy. So you’ll have to forgive me, but all I’ll share with you are a few pictures I took of the golden stuff in the vineyard on Monday…
Adendum: Since I posted, several of you also said they’d try to cook and eat the plant. I urge you to be careful and make sure the kind of plant that grows where you are is indeed edible and organic. Plant varieties are so diverse, I wouldn’t want you to get sick! Best option? Come visit me and I’ll cook it for you :0)
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I didn’t realize you could eat it other than using it as a cooking oil!
My grand mother used to serve it steamed with a simple vinaigrette and hard boiled eggs on the side. Delish!! + in top 10 of childhood memories! 😉 🙂
Organic is mandatory since most of the canola production is now GMO (and apparently even some in Europe from what I read) 😦 I personally stay away from that oil altogether. I’m glad you are opening more people’s eyes on this subject! 🙂
such stunning images – beautiful.
Thank you so much!!
I enjoyed the comments as much as your article. 🙂 I don’t understand, though, on why vegans would have issues with canola. But the GM and refined oil parts I get. I’m not automatically against big business, but I detest Monsanto!
Everybody hates Monsanto 😉 🙂
I am not a fan of canola oil. I avoid it as much as I can, which I can, but it is difficult as it is in EVERYTHING. And I believe most restaurants here in the United States cook with it because so many believe it to be healthy. There was a time when they claimed margarine was healthy too . . . .
I didn’t know there was a “canola”. I had learned that Canola was a made up name because they found that consumers didn’t like the name Rapeseed Oil.
I prefer Olive Oil. I keep hearing about Coconut Oil, but I LOATH coconut anything so I have not tried it.
I should be so lucky as to be able to visit France and have you cook for me. If every I win the lotto I am definitely booking rooms!!!!
Nothing could make me happier than to have you here! Regarding oil, I think the last word should be: Use as little processed anything as possible and everything will be well!
I just made a cake with canola oil which I often substitute for vegetable oil. I never thought about where it came from, but seeing the beautiful canola flowers makes me appreciate the oil even more.
Use butter Lulu! Use butter! 😉 🙂 (I’m like the little devil on your shoulder) Although you know that clarrified organic butter is probably much better for you than processed canola oil…
Wait. Is that canola or mustard? We grow mustard here in Napa between the rows of grapevines. It looks exactly the same.
I’m not a specialist, but everyone seems to agree that it’s pretty much the same 😉
I can always count on learning something from your posts. I’ve seen the lovely Yellow plants all over,, but never really knew what it was. Thanks for another great post….and the comments that definitely bring up the debate on highly refined and natural food are so true. It’s another one of the many reasons we have chosen to stay here. Looking forward to seeing you in person and learning even more!!
This one certainly got a reaction. I’m glad. We all need to discuss these things…
NOT grapeseed oil… it is top-heavy with omega-6, which crowds out the much needed and harder to find omega-3 fatty acids. Coconut oil is good for frying at high temperatures, if you decide to give up on canola. If it wasn’t for the GMO issue, canola would be your safest bet for high-temp cooking. I still use canola, myself. GMO is a technique not a chemical, and as far as I can see, the results vary. It’s a very complex issue. PS There is a world of difference between canola and rapeseed oil. It’s rapeseed oil that is used as a diesel fuel 🙂
I would love to sit at your table! One day, my dear friend….
One day SOON!
Hi Stéphane, koolzaad is Dutch, not Deut(s)ch.
Until your post I had never realised that canola oil is the same as rapeseed oil, so thanks for that!
Strangely enough, here in the Netherlands rapeseed oil/canola oil is not very common. We have more sunflower oil instead, which is quite similar.
Great photo — with some sun on it, rapeseed blossoms are very photogenic.
Thanks Stefan! Sorry for the typo. I just rewrote the whole post anyway to focus more on the plant than the oil. Some readers posted very interesting comments and I did some more research to find out that they were right. Any type of refined oil is bad for your health and even worse for the environment. I guess we’re all stuck with olive oil and butter…
Here canola oil is mostly used for bio fuel 🙂
This makes it even less appealing 😉
Canola oil. Almost everything you find in grocery stores is highly refined and bears no resemblance to the raw organic stuff….thank God since it is quite vile smelling and tasting in its unrefined form. Almost all edible wild greens seem to have wonderful health benefits as well as tasting great. Unfortunately, here in Canada, ironically you can’t buy canola greens. Probably the stuff we grow is the industrial variety for oil production. Anyway, it’s history as a “manufactured” oil is unappealing….why waste good food on canola oil when there is olive oil and butter. 2scolgin: “Vegan-type conspiracy theorists”….nicely put…I’ll have to use it. The primordial nature of our relationship to food lends itself very powerfully to eating being co-opted by the ego as a source of power, identity, and control. Beware of anyone with food idiosyncrasies….it’s almost never about the food!
I rewrote the post to focus on the organic vegetable… IThat’s what happens when you post without doing enough research…
I refuse to use canola oil or eat products which contain it. After cotton, it is one of the most chemical dependent crop grown in the western world. There are plenty of better, ethical alternatives!
Your comment was an eye opener Sandra. I did some more research and rewrote the post. That will teach me to do my homework before I post anything. I have a question though: since all refined oils are really bad for both your health and the environment, what do you use to cook or even fry? I mostly cook with olive oil, but not all foods can take its strong aroma… Since is is great with all fish and veggies, I guess we should just grill all meats…
Cold pressed grapeseed oil is my light oil of choice.
Because the canola grown for oil production is a GM crop, giant multinational chemical companies have a huge stake in it’s success. They actively pursue small organic farmers who unwittingly grow their product germinated from wind borne seed. There is a case before the courts in Australia at the moment, Monsanto have destroyed the organic rating on a small ethical producers farm, but they are suing him! Sorry, soapbox! I feel quite strongly about this and related issues!
GM crops are forbidden in Europe. They only allow the final products in for animal consumption exclusively. We have a lot of very powerful green groups in Europe who are still fighting the GM fight. They have been successful so far. Some giant companies are trying to win the battle on the corn front…
Bravo Europe!!! It’s almost impossible to stand up to the might and wealth of the vested interests that advocate the industrialisation of food production, money talks a lot louder than common sense or caution. Sadly economic stress means consumers buy cheap products, low cost products are made with lowest quality ingredients. The cost to the environment and I believe our health, will be enormous.
Who’d have known this stupid post would have helped changed my own mind on this issue. I am throwing away all my refined oils. From now on it’s olive oil, butter and maybe grapeseed… 🙂
LOL, I just made a comment to Mal saying how an innocent picture of the winter vineyard with the canola blooming in the bare rows between, opened a can of worms for you! Thanks for listening……
In German, it is called Raps. Beyond cooking with it, you can also use canola oil as a fuel , similar to Diesel fuel.
Is it also called ‘rape’ in Italian? If so, it is indeed delicious, although can become a pest in the garden.
Rapeseed (as it’s called in Ireland and the UK) is my very favourite oil – nutty, robust enough to fry in, perfect for dressings. It’s also low in saturated fat – they lowest of all cooking oils, I believe. I just love it!
We have friends who run sheep and grow canola on their farm ihere in Australia. In Spring all you can see is hectare upon hectare of golden fields. So beautiful. I had no idea you could eat it. I know what I’ll be trying next time I visit them.
Please ask them first if it is an edible variety! I wouldn’t want you to get sick 😉
Good point. I wonder if they eat it. Their Spring lamb is delicious.
Wow. this is beautiful. I really don’t know much about oil and wish that I did. This is so gorgeous and it was brief enough to be informative and beautiful enough to be moving. Thank you.
You are so sweet dear Amanda!
I’ve only heard of canola oil since I started blogging. In particular some of my Canadian bloggers have mentioned it without me having a clue what it is. Having read your post, I have just Googled canola, and all is now revealed. It’s what we call rape, the seeds of which are pressed to make rapeseed oil. From next month our landscape will be a riot of Van Gogh yellow, and all hay fever sufferers will be in for a difficult time as many are allergic to its strong, cloying smell. I’d no idea you could eat the plant. Wonder if I’m brave enough to try it!
Funny you’d mention this. I failed to mention the rapeseed thing. It appears (as you probably read) that they renamed it because of the connotation the word “rape” evoked…
I had no idea it was edible outside of cooking other food items in it, Stephane! How very interesting. Thank you for sharing!
My grand mother used to serve it quite often. The best kind is the wild one found in organic vineyards between the vines…
I’ve had many lively debates with various vegan-type conspiracy theorists who think canola is the Devil’s doing. That looks quite identical to the wild mustard that grows all over our California hills in the spring.
It’s funny you’d mention it. I read that a similar type of rapeseed oil can be made from wild mustard…