What is rapeseed oil?
Rapeseed oil comes from the seeds of the Rape plant, Brassica napus, which is in the same family as health benefiting cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli. The rape plant is well known for producing its bright sunshine yellow flowers in the Spring.
The oil comes in two forms:
The more artisan Cold-Pressed, also known as extra virgin, or virgin rapeseed oil. Cold-pressing simply involves using a press to squeeze the oil out of the seeds, retaining all its natural flavour, before being filtered and bottled.
Or the commercial Refined oil, where the seeds have their oil extracted under high temperatures, before being cleaned. This creates a flavourless oil with a high smoke point. Probably similar to a vegetable oil you would find in most kitchens.
Needless to say, we are all about flavour here at Taste of Wales so we recommend using a cold-pressed rapeseed oil. Rather than the flavourless commercial form.
Why Rapeseed Oil?
This is quite simple really, Rapeseed oil is healthier, packed with nutrients, tasty, versatile and a great performer in the kitchen.
This may be a shock for some but Rapeseed oil is healthier than Olive Oil!
It contains less saturated fat than all other commonly used cooking oils and fats e.g. 50% less than olive oil. UK diet and nutrition surveys estimate that as a nation we’re eating too much, saturated fat so we need to look for ways to cut down.
It’s high in unsaturated fats, particularly monounsaturated. As it’s mostly made up of mono-unsaturates, it’s classed as a mono-unsaturated fat. Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats such as rapeseed oil in the diet contributes to the maintenance of normal cholesterol levels, which may reduce the risk of heart disease.
It also has higher levels of important fatty acids - Omega 3, 6 and 9 - than any other vegetable oil. The Omega 3 content, which is good for blood circulation and young brains, is some 11 times higher than olive oil, while Omega 6 promotes healthy skin, nails and hair.
Rapeseed oil has great flavour and consistency, which we would describe as ‘nutty’, ‘delicate’, ‘light’ and ‘non-greasy’. This translates into a versatile oil which you can use to make great salad dressing, sauces and marinades as well as cooking at high temperature without smoking or burning, great for roasting and frying.
The chart below shows you the smoke points for unrefined olive oil and refined palm, rapeseed and sunflower oils. These are approximate temperatures, products will vary.
Rapeseed oil tastes extremely light and delicate. Which means the flavour is not overpowering as some olive oils can be, allowing you to compliment the flavours of the other ingredients in your dishes.
Another interesting thing about rapeseed oil is, similar to wine, there is a great variation in flavour between producers from different regions.
One that we would like to recommend to you is Blodyn Aur - 100% Welsh Rapeseed Oil, which is a cold-pressed, high-quality oil. Here’s some information:
‘Blodyn Aur is the first truly Welsh Rapeseed Oil. Welsh grown, Welsh pressed and Welsh bottled! Launched in April 2010, Blodyn Aur is run by farmers and friends Llyr Jones, Bryn Jones and Medwyn Roberts. Together they have set-up a modern oil pressing facility on Llyr’s farm near the village of Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr near Corwen.’
Blodyn Aur also produces an Oak Smoked Rapeseed Oil, which is great to add some depth of flavour to your dishes, for more information and recipes click here.
Baking with Rapeseed Oil
You can use Rapeseed oil in many recipes to replace butter and other fats. There are loads of sweet and savoury dishes that will benefit from this.
We will have a cake recipe here for you soon!
We will have a bread recipe here for you soon!