Information submited: 2014-10-01 Modified: 2018-04-03 By: 1
Rapeseed (Brassica Napus), also known as Rape, Oil seed 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).

 The name "Canola" was chosen by the board of the Rapeseed Association of Canada in the 1970s. The "Can" part stands for Canada and "Ola" refers to oil.

Canola was developed through conventional plant breeding from Rapeseed, an Oilseed plant already used in ancient civilization as a fuel. The word "Rape" in Rapeseed comes from the Latin word "Rapum" meaning turnip. Brassica Oilseed varieties are some of the oldest plants cultivated by humanity, with documentation of its use in India 4,000 years ago, and use in China and Japan 2,000 years ago. Its use in Northern Europe for oil lamps is documented to the 13th century.

Rapeseed oil is one of the oldest vegetable oils, but historically was used in limited quantities due to high levels of erucic acid, which is damaging to cardiac muscle of animals, and glucosinolates, which made it less nutritious in animal feed.

Brassica Napus or Rapeseed plant is a cool season small annual flowering herb with deep taproots. It grows to about 4 - 6 feet in height and bears beautiful flowers, which eventually develop into seedpods measuring about 5cm in length. Each seedpod contains 20 to 35 tiny, round Mustard like seeds. The seeds contain about 40% of oil.

Canola is labeled for modified plant developed by Canadian scientists using traditional plant breeding methods to get rid of rapeseed’s undesirable qualities - erucic acid and glucosinolates. Both rapeseed and Canola plants are, therefore, belongs to the same genus of the crucifer family called Brassica, the large family of plants, which also includes Turnip, Mustard, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli.

Canola oil is light yellow and has a neutral taste. In general, Canola seeds are pressed either by traditional cold-pressing method or in large scale, by hexane extraction method. Cold-pressed oil has its color, taste, and odor that are much more pronounced than those of refined oils are.

The major importers of canola seed are Japan, Mexico, China, and the European Union, while the US is the primary importer of Canola oil and meal. Canada accounts for more than half of world trade in Canola seed, meal, and oil. 
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