[Sca-cooks] rapeseed/canola oil

Johnna Holloway johnnae at mac.com
Fri Mar 4 12:53:47 PST 2011

It's the same plant But the question is -- was it used in cookery or  
just as lamp oil and animal feeds?

What I found last month on February 12 and posted then:

As to rapeseed, I remember seeing fields of it when we were at
Cambridge. Western Canada grows an immense amount of it, but it didn't
take over as an oil crop here in North America until late in the last
century. The Canadians through plant breeding developed a more
suitable plant that yielded a better oil or so I have read this am.

I searched OED and found a few quotes prior to 1600 but more after
a1661 W. Brereton Trav. (1844) 44 A‥mill-stone, upon which the
rape-seed being thrown was ground.
1707 J. Mortimer Whole Art Husb. v. 63 If they [sc. lands] are
very rich‥you may‥sow them with Hemp, Oad Cole, Rapeseed or Madder,
or some other rich Commodity.

and then turned to Oxford reference Online.
rapeseed The large expanses of yellow fields in springtime are a
modern phenomenon, the result of European Community subsidies, but
rape was once grown all down the eastern side of England. It was
experimentally grown in the late Middle Ages and again in the second
half of the 16th century, but spread more successfully on newly
drained fens in the 17th century. It was valued for its industrial oil
and as fodder for sheep. The cultivation of rape required more labour
than did grain, but it could be fitted into arable rotations at a
slack time of the year. The seed was crushed at windmills or water
mills .
How to cite this entry:
"rapeseed" The Oxford Companion to Local and Family History. Ed.
David Hey. Oxford University Press, 2009. Oxford Reference Online.
Oxford University Press.
I searched then : Early English Books Online for "rape-seede",
"rapeseed", "rape-seed", "rapeseed-cakes", or "rapeseede" within full
text, sorted by date ascending
Results: 110 matches in 65 records and none connected with a recipe or
cookery. There were agricultural references about sowing it or a few
medical ones. (rapeseed-cakes are fed to cows.)

Then I searched ECCO which is the 18th century database under
(Entire Document=(rapeseed)) And (Entire Document=(cookery) and found

So I can't find a reference to its being used in cookery this am.

Even if we do a general search and substitute rape seed oil for the
canola, I don't find it either via Google.

Urtatim later wrote:

According to what i've read, rapeseed oil was used for cooking only
by the very poor. I have found no info to say whether this was their
primary cooking oil, or whether is was used only when circumstances
were dire and they couldn't afford anything better.
Urtatim [that's err-tah-TEEM]
the persona formerly known as Anahita

but we don't have a specific source for that assumption.


On Mar 4, 2011, at 3:21 PM, yaini0625 at yahoo.com wrote:

> It was my understanding that they are the same plant. The French  
> farmer my Dad spoke too explained that in America the name is  
> different because of the negative connotation of the word.
> Aelina

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