Canola

I’ve seen pictures before, but canola crops are startlingly yellow when you see them up close. These photos are from near Nagambie yesterday, where there seems to be a lot of it at the moment.

Canola crop near Nagambie

Canola crop near Nagambie

Apparently the name once used here, and still used in the UK, is “rape”, or “rapeseed”. I think I can see why the marketing bods here these days prefer “canola” — which is derived from “Canadian oil, low acid”.

I don’t know if this lot is going into food, biofuels (whose demand for crops is said to be driving up world food prices) or something else.

Update Wednesday: ABC report: ABARE forecasts record canola harvest

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14 Replies to “Canola”

  1. Yes, until about 20 years ago it was called rape seed. I just finished reading a crime novel set in Sweden where a woman died in a “field of rape”. Which just meant canola plants.

  2. Canola is primarily used for cooking. Many manufactured food items here in the USA now contain it rather than other oils. After the oil is extracted from the seeds they are used as animal feed. It can also be used as a biofuel source.

    Check out this website for more info. http://www.canolainfo.org/index.php

  3. There’s fields upon fields of canola out past Werribee, you can see it from the train going to Geelong. It’s really an impressive sight, the fields covered in blankets of yellow

  4. I studied Food Science at Uni, and I recall that in fact Canola is a specific cultivar of rapeseed, specifically bred to have a unique nutritional profile. I’l check my old textbooks and see if I can find a reference.

  5. I remember the remarkable sight near Boorowa and Cowra in NSW where you would have sharply defined bright yellow fields of canola next to sharply defined bright purple fields of Patterson’s Curse – horrible weed, pretty colour…..

  6. I don’t know about “nutritional profile”, but the canola variety has been bred to have less erucic acid which is what the “low acid” at the end of the acronym is all about. Not sure exactly what the undesirable effect is, but the low erucic acid improves the use of the oil for human purposes. Before they invented canola, I think most of it was used to make paint or tan leather or something.
    All those pretty yellow flowers spreading RoundUp(TM) resistant franken-pollen all over the place.

  7. Yellow fields of rapeseed are a really common sight here in england. I read somewhere that rapeseed oil is as good for you as olive oil, so we use as our main cooking oil these days, especially because it is so much cheaper.

  8. I remember seeing fields of rape in France in 1981 and being astonded (a very young 18) that a plant could be called that! I don’t remember having seen it in South Australia or Victoria at the time, but presumably it was grown here then? Certainly I have noticed it much more over the last 10 years.

  9. My only encounter with Canola was in the UK on a bus trip.
    While pretty, walking through the field is not recommended – apparently it stains everything, and smells terrible.

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