If you've ever driven in the countryside in the Canadian prairies in the summer then you have seen the gorgeous golden fields. The tiny yellow flowers produce a seed which then matures and ripens before getting harvested. Each seed yields around 40% oil (Flavours of Canada p 59).


Canola has existed across Asia for years and years. Canola experiments and agricultural analyses (not to mention ideal growing conditions in this climate) has led to huge canola crops. Canada exports quite a lot overseas.

In WWII, canola crops made their first appearance since it was discovered that rapeseed oil could be used as a lubricant for machinery. Afterwards, Canadian scientist, R.K. Downey, hybridized the plant to be low in cholesterol and high in monounsaturated fat. The name "canola" was coined by combining "Canadian" with "oleum" (as in oil). (Canadian Food Words by Bill Casselman p 234)

Ways to Cook

Canola oil is considered a fairly neutral oil. It has a neutral (not too strong) flavour which means that it can be used in cooking without overpowering other flavours, unlike olive oil. Because of its bland taste, canola is sometimes blended in with olive oil or other vegetable oils to reduce the cost. (Read food labels!)

The smoke point is around 200⁰C (392⁰ F) which is also mid-range. Remember that cooking with too high a heat can cause your food to taste burnt and even start a fire spontaneously!

Cost-wise, canola is can be economical in Canada. Canola also does not go rancid as much as nut-based oils.

Canola can be a good choice of oil for cold preparations such as salad dressings and mayonnaise.

You may have heard about canola in terms of a "healthy fat". Canola oil is considered heart healthy because of it's low level of saturated fat. (It is unsaturated, mainly monounsaturated.)

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