Where Does Canola Oil Come From?

This vegetable oil has become a kitchen standard. But what kind of plant is canola, anyway?

Formerly a trademark created to stand for “Canada oil low acid,” canola is now a generic term for food-grade varieties of rapeseed oil. The oil is produced from the seeds of plants that are botanically related to mustard, turnips, and cabbages and have been bred to remove bitter-tasting compounds called glucosinolates. The refining process also reduces levels of erucic acid, so the term “low acid” distinguishes canola from natural rapeseed oil that has not been modified to be low in erucic acid and bitter glucosinolates.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Canola oil comes from rapeseed plants that have been bred or genetically modified to have a neutral taste.

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