A New Cooking Oil Boom

A New Cooking Oil Boom

Food & Drink

A New Cooking Oil Boom

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An ancient grain, camelina sativa, has given birth to a new oil boom (of the cooking kind) in Canada. Time will tell if it catches on in the “Lower 48.”

According to a story by Justin Robertson for the Globe and Mail, the camelina sativa traces back 3,000 years to northern Europe and parts of Central Asia, but has only recently been approved for consumption in Canada.

Crop farmer Colin Rosengren recognized the potential of the pea-shaped seed’s fatty acid content and its versatility as a cooking oil, and teamed up with two other growers to found Three Farmers, a camelina oil company.

The camelina oil contains an exceptional amount of omega-3 fatty acids—as much as 45%–and is a good source of vitamin E, which makes the oil stable and resistant to heat. Its high smoke point (475°F) makes it ideal for high-heat cooking. By comparison, olive oil’s smoke point is 325°F and grape seed oil is 425°F.

The vitamin E in the oil acts as an antioxidant, and prolongs shelf life (up to 12 months without refrigeration).

What does it taste like? It’s said to have a flavor both nutty and green, “like almonds wrapped in a blanket of leafy lettuce” according to Robertson’s article.

The Three Farmers mark each bottle with a code that lets customers trace the oil to the exact field the seed came from in southern Saskatchewan. And customers seem to like it. Sales have increased 20% each month since the oil was first introduced last March. Sold mostly in specialty food shops, a bottle costs about $25.

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