Rapeseed Oil

Natural rapeseed oil contains erucic acid, which is mildly toxic to humans in large doses but is used as a food additive in smaller doses. Canola is one of many selected cultivars of rapeseed bred to have a low erucic acid content. Canola was developed in Canada and its name is a contraction of "Canadian oil, low acid". The name was also chosen partly for marketing reasons, so successfully that the name is sometimes mis-applied to other cultivars of rapeseed.

Processing of rapeseed for oil production provides rapeseed animal meal as a by-product. The by-product is a high-protein animal feed, competitive with soya. The feed is mostly employed for cattle feeding, but also for pigs and chickens (though less valuable for these). The meal has a very low content of the glucosinolates responsible for metabolism disruption in cattle and pigs.

Rapeseed leaves are also edible, similar to those of the related kale. Some varieties of rapeseed are sold as greens, primarily in Asian groceries.

Rapeseed is a heavy nectar producer, and honeybees produce a light colored, but peppery honey from it. It must be extracted immediately after processing is finished, as it will quickly granulate in the honeycomb and will be impossible to extract. The honey is usually blended with milder honeys, if used for table use, or sold as bakery grade. Rapeseed growers contract with beekeepers for the pollination of the crop.




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