What is Canola Oil?
Canola oil is loved around the world by home cooks, bakers, professional chefs and manufacturers alike, and is popular for its versatility, light flavour, high smoke-point and impressive health benefits.
But what is canola oil? What plant is canola oil made from? And is non-GMO canola oil the same as rapeseed oil?
Join us for a short history lesson about canola, and learn why premium non GMO canola oil is taking over as the healthy cooking oil of choice!
Canola oil is produced from the seeds of the canola plant (Brassica napus L.). The canola plant has pretty yellow flowers – a spectacular sight to see when in bloom, stretched as far as the eye can see across the sunny Australian countryside.
The history of Canola oil in Australia.
Canola crops have been grown in Australia since the 1960s, flourishing in the winter months across the temperate wheat-belt regions of southern Australia. In the 1990’s Australia’s canola industry exploded, becoming a major exporter of seeds and oil to the world. Now, canola is Australia’s third largest broad-acre crop, after wheat and barley.
How canola oil is made.
he canola plant produces small black seeds that contain around 40-45% oil. The seeds are crushed to release the oil from the seed’s protein-rich solids. The raw oil is rich in nutrients, healthy omega fats and antioxidants, and is low in saturated fat – truly a superfood!
There are three main ways that canola oil is made: cold pressed, expeller pressed, and solvent expelled. AusiChef only produces non-GMO cold-pressed and expeller pressed canola oil, retaining the maximum nutritional benefits. To learn more about the different types of canola oils and how they are made, see our article How to choose the best quality canola oil.
Is canola oil the same as rapeseed oil?
Canola is sometimes mistaken for rapeseed because canola was originally bred from rapeseed and the plants are similar in appearance. However, canola has much lower levels of erucic acid glucosinolates – the characteristics that make rapeseed undesirable. To meet the official definition of canola, the plant must produce oil containing less than 2% erucic acid. Australian canola oil has been shown to have less than 0.1% erucic acid content.
What is canola oil used for?
Canola is well known for being one of the world’s healthiest oils, with zero trans-fat and the lowest amount of saturated fat of all commonly used cooking oils. With a high-smoke point and neutral flavour, canola oil is ideal for healthy cooking at home and commercially. It is also a high-oleic oil which means it is a healthy alternative to partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in processed foods as it is shelf-stable, does not break down under high heat, and does not contain trans fats.