Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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rape Brassica napus, one of the most ancient members of the cabbage tribe, is a coarse but useful green vegetable.

Its main importance, however, is that its subspecies oleifera is the source of rapeseed oil, a product which is very widely used in cooking. There had been a problem which discouraged its use; it was high in erucic acid and glucosinolates, which have anti-nutritional properties. However, plant-breeders in Canada developed the variety Canola in the last decades of the 20th century, which does not suffer significantly from this handicap. Some rapeseed oil is now sold as Canola oil. The names rapeseed oil or colza oil are, however, more common.