What is Canola Oil?

What is Canola?

Canola is a plant that is a member of a large family of plants called crucifers. Crucifers are easy to identify because the four yellow flower petals form the shape of a cross.

How does Canola grow?

Prairie Canola Field with Blue Sky | www.canolaeatwell.com

Canola plants grow to a height of one to two metres. The yellow flower produces seed pods that are about 5 centimetres in length. There is an average of 60 to 100 pods per plant. Each seed pod contains 20 to 30 tiny, round seeds which are 1 mm. in diameter. When it is ready to harvest, the plant changes colour from green to light yellow. These tiny seeds are crushed to extrude canola oil. From germination to seed production, the life cycle of a canola plant takes about 3 1/2 months, depending on temperature, moisture, sunlight and soil fertility. Canola is a cool season crop. It grows particularly well on the prairies, where cool nights and hot days allow it to develop its unique fatty acid profile.

What plant family is Canola?

Canola belongs to a section (or genus) of the crucifer family called Brassica. As well as canola, Brassica plants include mustard, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and turnip. Brassicas are a major source of food in many countries, including Canada.

How did Canola get its name?

The name ‘Canola’ was registered as a trademark in Canada in 1970. The name comes from “Can” as in Canada and “ola” as in oil!

Where did Canola come from?

The plant was bred by Canadian scientists, Dr. Baldur Stefansson and Dr. Keith Downey, who selected rapeseed populations when looking for a crop that would produce a healthy, edible oil product. Prior to canola oil, most of the oil Canadians used for food purposes was imported and people wanted a home-grown edible oil. Canola was selected from rapeseed through the knowledge and ingenuity of these prairie plant scientists.

Is Canola Rapeseed?

Canola is NOT rapeseed. It may look the same but it’s nutritional makeup is totally different. Canola came about only after years of hard work, research and countless field tests of new plant varieties.

How much is the Canola Industry worth in Canada?

Canada’s canola industry adds $13.8 billion in economic activity to the Canadian economy. The canola industry creates over 216,000 jobs in western and eastern Canada in production, transportation, crushing, refining, food development, manufacturing and service.

Who grows Canola?

More than 43,000 Canadian farmers grow canola, largely as full-time farmers and in family farm businesses. They depend on canola to generate between one third and one half of their revenues. Ninety per cent (90%) of Canadian canola is exported throughout the world, bringing back more than $9 billion to the country’s economy.

How do the Canola Growers fit into all of this?

The Canola Growers are a non-profit organization that represents the canola farmers.  Farmers pay a check-off at the elevator when they deliver their canola for sale.

What do the Canola Growers do?

We are committed in providing health and recipe information on canola oil to consumers, health professionals, dietitians, educators, chefs and food service personnel. We are also highly committed to our growers and run many programs to ensure that they have access to the best resources they need to grow a safe, sustainable, healthy crop for the world.

Is Canola Oil safe?

Yes, you can be assured that canola oil is safe.  Canola oil meets strict quality standards determined by industry and government regulatory agencies. Consumers can therefore be assured that the canola oil they purchase is of the highest quality.

Why should I buy and use Canola Oil?

Canola oil is your local choice for oil.  Grown right here in Canada! Canola oil is the best blend of fats for good health. Canola oil is low in saturated fat and contains zero trans fat and cholesterol. Canola oil is a source of omega-6 which is important for the brain and essential for the growth and development of infants. Canola oil is also high in omega-3 fat which helps to protect against heart attacks and strokes. Canola oil is high in monounsaturated fats, which reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. You can also visit our blog post When can I use canola oil for a more informaiton.