[Sca-cooks] Canola was Intent or Interpretation

Johnna Holloway johnnae at mac.com
Fri Mar 4 09:13:09 PST 2011

We just did this very question on another list.
For that search, I looked through EEBO and also OED and other academic  
databases but couldn't find it mentioned as a foodstuff for humans.  
It's fed to animals, esp. cattle.

Countess Alys posted a summary
  So, from what Johnna didn't find, and what Mary mentioned, maybe  
this is
 > another of those cases where rapeseed oil existed but was used for
 > another purpose other than cooking. I wonder if, for cookery, there
 > needs to be additional processing before it is "edible". Lamp use is
 > one thing; putting it in your food is something else.

to which Master A replied--

Here's a possible clue: if you look at the Wiki article (yeah, yeah,  
Wiki isn't reliable, so go someplace else and see if you find anything  
different -- it's a convenient starting point) on Canola Oil, it  
states that canola (which is allegedly an abbreviation for Canadian  
Oil, Low-Acid) is a cultivar of rapeseed developed for human  
consumption and animal feed in the 1970's for its reduced levels of  
toxic glucosinolates and erucic acid, compared to earlier, more  
traditional forms of rapeseed.

It may be that raw, cold-pressed rapeseed oil would be the equivalent  
of eating uncured olives (although I gather you can press good oil  
from them, but the fruit isn't usually very good). Maybe the  
equivalent process of rendering it palatable and/or safe had not been  


I don't think it was used in England as a cooking oil during our time  


On Mar 4, 2011, at 11:45 AM, Donna Green wrote:
> Isn't canola oil the same as rapeseed oil? It is my understanding  
> that it was just renamed for marketing purposes. Rapeseed is grown  
> in northern Europe. Do any of the German specialists out there know  
> if rapeseed oil was used in period cooking?
> Juana Isabella

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