Rapeseed Oil: Uses, benefits, and interesting facts

flower fields of rapesieeds for oil cooking, uses and benefits

Rapeseed oil is a hidden gem. While not a widely-known oil in the US, it is considered the “olive oil of Northern Europe”. Wherever Italians use olive oil, Northern Europeans use rapeseed oil. People pour it over their salads, soups, pancakes and seafood. 

Rapeseed Oil has a variety of culinary applications and health benefits. If you’re looking for an alternative to olive oil or vegetable oil, consider rapeseed oil. Unlike olives, the rapeseed plant natively grows on the US east coast so is part of a sustainable, local NY oil seed culture.

What is Rapeseed Oil?

Rapeseed oil (or as we sometimes call it, Raps Oil, German for rapeseed) is a plant-based cooking oil belonging to the brassica family which also includes cabbage and mustard. Rapeseed oil has a nutty, buttery and earthy taste. Known for being low in saturated fat, rapeseed has been hailed for its health benefits and other nutritional bonuses such as its possession of Omegas 3, 6, and 9 which can help maintain healthy brain, heart, and joint functions

Furthermore, because rapeseed is high in mono-unsaturated fats, rapeseed oil is one of the only unblended oils that can be heated without spoiling its antioxidants, color, character, or flavor. However, we do not recommend using our rapeseed oil for frying as it is unfiltered.

Canola vs. Rapeseed Oil

Ulli’s Rapeseed Oil is much different from your typical supermarket Rapeseed or Canola oil. Rapeseed oil is often associated with Canola oil, or Canadian Oil, a GMO crop bred to lower the erucic acid. In the 1970’s, Canola Oil was created through a GMO plant-breeding process so that the certain components including erucic acid could be removed from pure rapeseed oil.  Most grocery store Canola oil is genetically modified.

Canola oil is a cheap vegetable oil typically grown in industrial agricultural fields full of Roundup residue, pesticides and herbicides then chemically extracted, deodorized, bleached, refined, filtered for maximum shelf life and neutral taste. It has little in common with our small batch, stamp-pressed rapeseed oil grown in organic soil in Ancramdale, NY.

While canola and rapeseed oil have similarities, they are different. They possess different genetic makeup and erucic acid content. In order to be called canola oil, the rapeseed oil must contain a erucic acid level of 2% or less while also meeting internationally regulated standards. If not, it will be labeled rapeseed oil.

Rapeseed blooms in the summer producing fields of bright golden-yellow flowers that are a beautiful sight to behold. The oil is extracted from the seeds using a press.

GMO Rapeseed Oil

While there are many benefits surrounding the use of rapeseed oil, beware of GMO Rapeseed Oil. Keep in mind, most rapeseed oil found in grocery stores and food products is genetically modified. Does that mean every rapeseed oil you find is genetically modified? No! In fact, Ulli’s rapeseed oil uses organic seeds from sustainable, local NY seed culture to ensure natural, tasty oil with healthy properties.

Benefits of Rapeseed Oil

Rapeseed oil benefits are many. The oil is known to have less unhealthy saturated fat than other cooking oils and fats. Furthermore, rapeseed oil is high in mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats so that you can maintain healthy cholesterol levels as a part of a balanced diet for heart health. It’s worth mentioning that it’s a rich source of vitamin E which supports skin and eye health.

Cooking Uses of Rapeseed Oil

Stamp pressed Rapeseed oil has a wealth of culinary applications. Often described as having a buttery, nutty taste, rapeseed oil is a great dairy substitute. Try using it instead of cream in soups or mashed potatoes. 

The flavor of rapeseed oil does not dissipate during the cooking process so the taste will be present in the final dish.

Additionally rapeseed oil is fantastic cold as well. It’s known for its delicate and pleasant taste. Look to use it on your salad dressing, sauces and marinades, or simply drizzle it over your ice cream. Yum!

If you want to serve it hot, you can try baking, roasting, or sauteing with rapeseed oil but we don’t recommend frying with it. I love to sauté my mushrooms with it when I make tagliatelle with mushrooms. It’s also great to marinate fish or seafood before cooking in the oven.

Is Rapeseed Oil Healthy?

Rapeseed oil is a healthy oil that provides many nutritional and health benefits when ingested. As we mentioned before, rapeseed oil is high in omega-3s allowing it to maintain its nutritional integrity. 

Furthermore, rapeseed oil itself has less unhealthy saturated fats than other types of cooking oils while also being a good source for Vitamin E. Keep in mind, the plant was initially developed through cross-breeding and that it’s not uncommon to find that the rapeseed oil you bought was genetically modified. Ulli’s Rapeseed Oil, however, is organic and GMO-free.

How to Store Rapeseed Oil

Like other oils, you can store most rapeseed oils for many months as long as you seal the rapeseed oil in a sealed container at room temperature. Furthermore, the rapeseed oil needs to be in an area shielded from sunlight. 

Since Ulli’s oil is unrefined and unfiltered, we recommend storing in the refrigerator for optimal freshness and taste retention.

Rapeseed Nutrition

Rapeseed oil is a pure oil, meaning that you won’t find any protein or carbohydrates within it. However, rapeseed oil is a good source of healthy fats and soluble vitamins with one tablespoon providing approximately 124 calories, 9 grams of monounsaturated fats, 4 grams of polyunsaturated fats, and 16% of the daily value of Vitamin E. 

The Difference between Ulli's Cold-Pressed and Conventional Oil

As we’ve mentioned, most rapeseed oil that you’ll find in grocery stores are genetically modified. It’s not uncommon that rapeseed oil is extracted with chemical solvents and then cleaned with more chemicals which results in a tasteless oil.

Furthermore, during the rapeseed oil’s initial heating process, the essential fatty acids can be damaged, reducing the number of antioxidants and vitamins in the end product (source).  At Ullis Oil Mill, we press seeds very gently and slowly so no frictional heat is generated as opposed to expeller pressed oils, which are prevalent in supermarkets and big box stores.

Ulli’s cold-pressed rapeseed oil is from seeds locally sourced from farms in Hudson Valley where a healthy seed culture is supported. Oils and all other products produced by Ulli’s Oil Mill are organic and non-GMO. Furthermore, the oil is unfiltered, unbleached, unrefined, and not deodorized--all while incorporating biodynamic and permaculture practices developed in Austria. 

Ulli’s oils are pressed on demand in an artisanal process using a traditional stamp press in Queens, NY. Small batch production and high craftsmanship are what Ulli’s stands for. 

Therefore, while other canola and rapeseed oils might have the problem of being genetically modified, possessing fewer antioxidants than wanted, or a lack of taste, Ulli’s commitment to organic, non-GMO, locally-sourced products will bring forth the best taste and quality that natural rapeseed oil offers. 

That’s the reason our raps oil is a favorite of the Michelin Star chef Emma Bengtsson from Aquavit Restaurant in New York!

If you’re interested in trying natural small-batch artisanal rapeseed oil, you can order Ulli’s Oil Mill Rapeseed (Raps) Oil from our online shop.