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Champs de canola field photo by grant-ritchie

In defence of Virgin Canola Oil

Poor canola! If we were to believe everything we hear and read on the topic, canola oil would be entirely avoided! At Maison Orphée, we want to demystify this belief. As we always say, it all depends on the quality of the product, and we should always avoid generalizations. Here are some important points to consider before giving canola oil the cold shoulder.


ORGANIC AND NON-GMO: Yes, there are still farmers who produce high quality, certified organic canola seed. Their plots are grown in protected areas where they do not come into contact with genetically modified crops. At Maison Orphée, the lots we purchase are tested to ensure that they do not contain genetically modified canola. The detection limit is 0.05%. 

AND ESPECIALLY VIRGINand here is the major point of interest to consider for canola oil, as for the vast majority of oils. A virgin oil is a cold pressed oil. It is also an oil whose production method favours quality over quantity. In fact, it is like an oleaginous* "juice", i.e. a plant that contains oil. It is this juice that is bottled in the most natural form possible. And that makes a big difference if you compare virgin oil to regular refined oil.

You can smell and taste the difference. Canola oil, depending on the conditions and the cultivar, will be a beautiful yellow to orange color. In terms of taste, it is reminiscent of asparagus, beans or butter and hazelnuts. The taste and color of the virgin oil come from the pigments and microelements that are preserved during the cold extraction process. They are part of the plant, are fat-soluble and have various properties, among others, as antioxidants.

This has nothing to do with refined oil sold in plastic containers at ridiculously low prices, devoid of any taste, colour or personality. This oil is extracted by heating up the seeds and using chemical solvents that are just as bad for our health as they are for the planet. It then goes through a refining process that turns it transparent and suitable for human consumption. In terms of its nutritional value, you'll find that all the fatty acids are there, but none of the volatile components which give it taste and colour, and none of the antioxidants naturally present either. Furthermore, if we wish to be mindful of our planet, unlike cold pressed oils, this type of extraction that uses solvents and requires the oil to be refined uses chemical substances.

Now it's on you to choose nature and personality when you can!
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