Facts etc.: Truth About Rapeseed Oil

Facts etc.: Truth About Rapeseed Oil

By Chloë Stewart

Facts etc.: Truth About Rapeseed Oil

Rapeseed oil is arguably one of the most controversial oils when it comes to health. People go so far as to categorically ban it from their diets. And they’re not wrong. Sometimes.. It can also boast one of the best nutritional CVs of all plant oils. Confused? Same. Here’s what we discovered…


First: all rapeseed oils were not created equal. Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil ≠ Rapeseed Oil ≠ Canola Oil.

Second: here are the 3 main reasons we chose to use Cold Pressed Extra Virgin British Rapeseed Oil in our Rye, Hazelnut Cacao granola and Barley Spelt and Walnut savoury granola:

🌍 Reducing air miles and CO2 emissions.
🌾 Invests in British economy and British farmers.
💪 Contains a variety of nutrients superior to any other plant oil.

Cold Pressed, Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil is in fact the liquid gold of our British shores. Which is why we are so excited to now be partnering with Hillfarm to be sourcing some of the highest quality rapeseed oil – we think – the UK has to offer.

As you know, we do a lot of research into our ingredients so that we can stand proudly behind them. And if you’re new here, well, now you know. Whether it’s for the benefit of our diets, the health of growers and our soils, and of course eliminating waste streams, every decision we make is intentional. So we wanted to deep dive into the differences between Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil, Rapeseed Oil and Canola Oil so that you can have all the facts and make informed decisions when buying your groceries.

Long Read

We’re not here to bash any other oils. We absolutely love extra virgin olive oil. We love the flavour it brings to our oat almond and honey granola. However, at the time of developing our 2nd and 3rd flavours, we couldn’t not take into consideration the cost implications of Brexit on imports to the UK such as on Italian olive oil, as well as the mileage and consequential CO2 emissions. So we explored different options. And that’s when we discovered cold pressed, extra virgin, British rapeseed oil. And the copious health benefits that come with it, contrary to popular belief. It’s for all these reasons we expressly chose to use this beautiful British ingredient.

Rapeseed, a history

  • Records of cultivation begin in India, 2000 BCE, before being introduced to China and Japan around 35 BCE.
  • It’s believed the Romans brought it to the UK, with growing records for use in the late 14th century as fuel and animal feed.
  • Demand for the oil only really took off during the 18th-19th century when it was discovered to be the perfect lubricant for steam engines.
  • WWII caused a critical European shortage for Rapeseed Oil which ultimately led to the dire need for rapeseed production elsewhere. Enter Canada.

What is Canola Oil?

Can = Canada. Ola = Oil Low Acid. Initially developed in Canada in 1974 to create a low erucic acid – toxic in large quantities – and low glucosinolate – responsible for the bitter hot’ flavour also found in cauliflower and horseradish – crop, suitable for anything from frying to fuel.

Why is it bad?

❌ it has since been heavily genetically modified in order to withstand a variety of pesiticides and herbicides and optimised for fast growth and high yield.
❌ such intensive farming practices through mono-cropping degrade our soils, depleting its nutrients and destroying biodiversity.
❌ low-no nutritional value due to over processing and treatment of the oil through extraction using heat and chemicals, used for speed and lowering cost, at the detriment of our health.

What about regular rapeseed oil?

  • often used interchangeably with ‘canola oil’ although ‘canola’ is typically used when referring to the US/CA oil, where rapeseed is typically referring to the the UK/EU oil.
  • typically still industrially produced, optimised for speed, yield and low costs, sold as cheap seed to be bottled in other countries or blended with other rapeseed/vegetable oils.
  • lower nutritional value than ‘cold pressed, extra virgin’ because of the grains, chemicals, heat used during processing.

So how do you identify quality rapeseed oil?

✅ Cold pressed = no heat is added protecting naturally occurring nutrients.
✅ Extra virgin = the oil obtained through cold pressing from the ‘first’ or ‘virgin’ press ie. without heat or chemicals.
✅ British grown and pressed = lower mileage and CO2 emissions than importing seed from EU while investing in British farming livelihood.
✅ Dark bottle, much like for quality olive oil.

Hillfarm Rapeseed Oil

And why choose it? 

Because it boasts incredible nutritional* properties:

💡 highest level of omega 3 of any plant oil.
💡 perfect balance of omega 6:3.
💡 the lowest saturated fat of any oil – less than half of olive oil.
💡 high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.
💡 highest level of plant sterols compared to refined rapeseed varieties and almost double that of olive oil.

*All nutritional information comes via Hillfarm, cited from independent sources, lab analysis and supported by nutritionist Dr Lucy Williamson, who recommends incorporating 3 tbsp of Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil into your daily diet.

Hillfarm Rapeseed Oil Solar Powered

Reasons we love Hillfarm?

What began as a family run operation determined that there must be a better way to make quality rapeseed oil, became a thriving and pioneering cold pressing rapeseed oil brand:

🐝 Banned the use of neonicotinoid chemicals in 2014, a pesticide highly toxic to bees.
🌳 Encourage biodiversity through the building of ponds for newts, keeping hives for bees, and fostering hedgegrows for birds.
☀️ Their press and offices are entirely solar-powered.
🐑 Implement regenerative farming practices for healthier soils including crop rotation and animal grazing.
🏆 Have won Great Taste Awards back to back for their oil for the last 9 years.

You can sauté, fry, drizzle and bake with it. We’ve used it here in this delicious Bold Bean Co inspired leak and bean-otto – heavy on the leak – topped with a drizzle of Hillfarm and a healthy handful of crunch from our savoury granola. find the recipe on our instagram.

nibs etc. Hillfarm Rapeseed Oil Leak and Bean-otto Recipe
Shop our delicious savoury granola. Change daily rituals, nibble by nibble.