Is the main ingredient of one of the most common oils for cooking actually a vegetable in disguise?
The Short Answer:
No, Canola is not a Vegetable.
The Long Answer:
Have you ever looked at a bottle of canola oil and asked yourself the question, “what the heck is canola?”
Many people mistakenly believe canola is a vegetable. While it could be easy to think that, given the many similarities between canola oil and vegetable oil, canola is actually made from a seed and not a vegetable.
Canola seeds come from the Canola plant, which stands anywhere between three and five feet in height. The plant produces pods which contain its seeds. Those seeds are harvested and crushed to create canola meal and canola oil. The plant’s other distinguishing feature is the lovely yellow flowers which grow from it.
The average canola seed is comprised of 45% oil. All of that is contained in a brownish-black seed no larger than a poppy seed.
The story of how Canola gets its name is actually really interesting. In the 1960s, Canadian scientists used plant breeding to eliminate all the negative elements of rapeseed, which is the third largest source of vegetable oil in the world. In doing so they created Canola, which gets the root of its name from “Canadian.” Despite its name, this plant is also grown in the United States and Australia.
The plant comes from the same family as mustard, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower, but because it is only a seed, I have a hard time calling it a vegetable.
Do you prefer canola oil to vegetable oil? Did you know that it came from a pretty yellow flowering plant? What do you typically use canola oil for? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know.