What is rapeseed oil? Let us answer that for you here…
Rapeseed oil is the oil extracted from the small black seeds found in seed pods grown on the rapeseed plant, Brassica napus, a plant species which is a member of the brassica family. These seeds are tiny, quite hard black seeds with a bright yellow centre which holds a high oil content. To release this oil, the seeds must be either pressed or processed at a high temperature.
We produce our Mellow Yellow Rapeseed Oil by a traditional cold pressing method which we like to call the ‘process of no process’. We simply squeeze the seeds in a screw press and collect the oil that is released. The screw press is very simple and is an incredibly traditional food production method. A slowly turning screw uses pressure to gently squeeze the seeds which releases the oil. This oil is then passed through a filter (a bit like coffee paper) and then it is ready to go into bottles to be used in your kitchen.
Not all rapeseed oil is produced in the same way though. Some companies use a chemical extraction method to produce refined rapeseed oil. This involves quite an intense process where the rapeseed oil is extracted from the seeds under high temperatures, then is bleached and deodorised using chemicals to create a flavourless and colourless oil. This is often sold as vegetable oil in large quantities to be used for deep frying.
Stages of growth of a rapeseed plant
We sow the seeds into the earth in August straight after harvest time. The seeds are then left to grow throughout September and October with the rain at this time of year helping. Growth slows down from November to February until Spring arrives and it starts to warm up. We put fertiliser on the fields at this time to help the growth. From April onwards, the rapeseed plant continues to grow, becoming a tall, green plant with yellow flowers, about 1m high.
These yellow flowers appear around May and June time. The flowers then die, leaving a seed pod to grow in their place. This seed pod develops over the late summer months until August when harvest takes place.
A combine harvester cuts down the plant and breaks the seed pods open to release all the little black seeds that have formed. These seeds can then either be planted again to grow even more rapeseed plants the next year, or can be gently cold pressed to produce cold pressed rapeseed oil.
What is rapeseed oil also known as?
In the UK, we refer to it as ‘rapeseed oil’ or ‘cold pressed rapeseed oil’ depending on the way it is produced. However, in Canada and the USA, they know it as ‘canola oil’. This stands for Canadian Oil Low Acid, which refers to the low erucic acid of the product.
Some people ask us if we use any genetically modified (GM) rapeseed. Our seeds are not GM and additionally, they are LEAF Marque. LEAF stands for Linking the Environment And Farming and means that they we are independently audited to ensure that our farming methods are both sustainable and sensitive to the environment.
What is rapeseed oil used for?
With a high smoke point, rapeseed oil is a brilliant culinary oil and is great for roasting, frying, baking or dressing. Take a look at our recipes using Mellow Yellow Rapeseed Oil here. As well as a culinary oil, we use our Mellow Yellow Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil as an ingredient for our range of salad dressings, infused oil and mayonnaise. With its subtle nutty flavour and low saturated fat content, it is perfect for this and creates delicious and healthy dressings and mayonnaise with a beautiful yellow colour.
What is so special about Mellow Yellow Rapeseed Oil?
– Duncan Farrington, a fourth generation farmer, was the UK’s original seed-to-bottle producer of cold pressed rapeseed oil back in 2005.
– Our rapeseed is grown to LEAF Marque standards, a system designed to promote environmentally responsible and sustainable farming.
– Grown, cold pressed and bottled on the Farrington’s family farm in Northamptonshire.
– Flavour is key. Our cold pressed rapeseed oil is not brash or punchy, with mellow nutty and buttery tones.
– 90% less saturated fat than coconut oil and half the saturated fat of olive oil.
– Ten times more Omega 3 than olive oil with a healthy balance of Omega 3, 6 and 9.
So what is rapeseed oil? It is a brilliant culinary oil that is produced from the oil found in seeds from the rapeseed plant. Cold pressed rapeseed oil is produced by gently squeezing the seeds and has a subtle nutty flavour and is low in saturated fat with a high smoke point. Find out more about Farrington’s Mellow Yellow Rapeseed Oil here and find your local stockist here.