Rapeseed (Brassica napus), also known as rape, oilseed rape, rapa, rappi, rapaseed (and, in the case of one particular group of cultivars, canola), is a bright-yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage family), cultivated mainly for its oil-rich seed. It is the third-largest source of vegetable oil in the world.
It is also consumed in China (油菜: Mandarin Pinyin yóucài; Cantonese:jau⁴coi³) and Southern Africa as a vegetable. The name derives from the Latin for turnip, rāpa or rāpum, and is first recorded in English at the end of the 14th century. Older writers usually distinguished the turnip and rape by the adjectives 'round' and 'long' (-'rooted'), respectively. Rutabagas, Brassica napobrassica, are sometimes considered a variety of B. napus. Some botanists also include the closely related B. rapa within B. napus.
Canola was developed through conventional plant breeding from rapeseed, an oilseed plant already used in ancient civilisation as a fuel. The change in name serves to distinguish it from natural rapeseed oil, which has much higher erucic acid content. In the 1970s, the Rapeseed Association of Canada chose the name "canola" to represent "Can" for Canada, and "ola" for oil. One dictionary purports that it stands for Can(ada) + o(il) + l(ow) + a(cid).
Canola oil is made at a processing facility by slightly heating and then crushing the seed.[Almost all commercial canola oil is then extracted using hexane solvent which is recovered at the end of processing. Finally, the canola oil is refined using water precipitation and organic acid to remove gums and free fatty acids, filtering to remove colour, and deodorising using steam distillation.
Throughout Melbourne, canola plants can be found as escapers from cultivation. These are considered weeds, although the leaves, seeds, and stems of this mustard variety are edible. The plant appears in some form in African, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and African-American (soul food) cuisines. In Greece the young flower-bud shoots are collected, boiled and served with an oil and lemon juice dressing as salad greens (one of the greens collectively known as "horta").
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Food Friday meme.