Canola vs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Chris,

Perhaps I should have said edible Rapeseed Oil.

I am not sure what you mean by two kinds of Canola or why you say Rapeseed is wrongly used for both plants. koolzaadolie and raapzaadolie are both cultivated varieties of Rapeseed. Canola is the variant that is low erucic acid, low glucosinolate. Of course there are many sub varieties of Canola and a few Canola like varieties that represent a small amount of production.
 
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Peter has the truth of it; Canola and rapeseed are sufficiently different they no longer cross-pollinate. There was a lawsuit settled in favour of Monsanto when a Canadian farmer claimed his Roundup resistant rapeseed crop was contaminated by cross-pollination from a neighbour's Canola fields. He lost. The gene making the plant resistant to Monsanto's roundup (a powerful herbicide) was first identified and isolated by a Govt. of Saskatchewan Min. of Ag. scientist. There was a court battle over who owned the patent. Monsanto won. Because it's GM, it's banned in the EC.
I remember that case.  Strange things a guy who grew in Saskatoon in the '80's will remember....... 
 
 
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Siduri,

None of my links go directly to peer reviewed sources however you can drill done in most of them, except for the producers websites, since they supply references. I gave a large number of independent producers so they could collaborate each other.

Wikipedia doesn't have conventional peer review but their multiple eyes plus citations method has proven as accurate a conventional review under multiple studies. In any case the article citations are a good source for doing your own research.

Mayo Clinic publications are obviously editor reviewed and being well read by peers in the field anything unorthodox would be quickly challenged.

The canola council website does reference a lot of peer reviewed material.

The snopes article is endorsed by Quackwatch. Quackwatch acts to peer review alternative medicine. See the wikipedia article for information about Quackwatch and why they are trustworthy.

http://www.quackwatch.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quackwatch

If you want peer reviewed information that is not from a scientific or medical source I am not sure what I can offer.
That quackwatch site is very interesting - you might be interested in Ben Goldacre's "Bad Science" articles (in The Guardian online and in his own website) for a very intelligent and also funny debunking of various "scientific facts" that are promoted even by people who should know better. 

I wasn;t particularly interested in reading about Canola myself, because it's not anything i would have occasion to use, i was just raising the point.  Non-scientific peer reviewed information - no i wasn't referring to that, i meant scientific sources. 

But the main problem with anything is that even the best scientist can prove something is harmful but it's impossible to prove it's not.  You would have to test every case for a lifetime and no one could do that.  All we can say is that SO FAR something doesn;t seem dangerous.  As I'm fond of saying, when i was a kid all the good kids shoe stores had an actual xray machine where you would stick your feet in and see the bones (i LOVED it) and they could tell if the shoes fit right.  Everyone thought that xrays were perfectly safe.  Like asbestos, like thalidomide, like tons of other stuff.  Cold-pressed olive oil has been around since the ancient times, if it hurt you, we'd likely know about it by now.  I'm just suspicious when something new comes out and suddenly it's the only way to go - all these recipes i come across specifying canola oil - like corn oil or safflower oil or sunflower oil wouldn;t do, like you couldn't just say "mild oil" or something (these are cake recipes by the way, not for frying), so i wonder why are they specifying? 



I also wonder at the effects of the chemicals on industrially produced oils of all kinds.  They mash the seeds, then have to wash out the unwanted particles, and i hear that's done chemically.  One of the other reasons i used to fry only in extra virgin oil was that my kids were little and i wanted to make sure they got as least crap in them as possible, without going to any extremes.  Now I'm old and the kids are elsewhere, and I'm less careful.  Never have fried all that much anyway. 
 
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Using your anology , were you there when the olive oil was harvested and processed.?? We all have our likes and dislikes. When I was younger the fad was everyone should use peanut oil. Then the best one in the 80s was Brocolli was great for you, but then again brocolli caused cancer. ??????
 
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ricebran oil is the best.  no taste, cooks clean at high temp, and NO TRANS FATS.  get into it for any kind of shallow or deep frying.  save the evo for eating raw, or saute when you don't need to heat the oil too much... or when you want that lovely evo flavour...
 
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A lot of people think olive oil has a very distinctive taste but you can definitely enhance that flavor by infusing.

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When it comes to Canola oil there is much scientific doubt on whether it's good for you or not.  When there's doubt I go without.
Using your anology , were you there when the olive oil was harvested and processed.??
Yes.  Yes I was.
 
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Chefedb, there are extremely strict rules for what can be put in extra virgin olive oil - one ingredient - olives. 

Yes, someone might do something else and get away with it, but chances are the other oil producers would be just as interested in getting him caught because it would ruin the entire market.  I have bought inferior extra virgin (cheapo no-name brand) and it had a chemical smell when i heated it - never bought that brand again.   Italians are very very particular about what they put in their stomachs!

So while I wasn't there when it was pressed, I trust it more than other oils which legally CAN contain traces of other ingredients. 
 
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Well, that's interesting, Chris, i have heard of olio di colza here too!  It was always presented as a kind of crappy oil, not for sale in supermarkets, and used in mixtures of cheap oil.  If i'm not mistaken.  Or, possibly i saw it in a very cheap olive oil called "olio di colza e di oliva" and i thought colza meant maybe some sort of crappy third or fourth pressing of olives. 
 
The "huile de colza, or olio di colza" (koolzaadolie) is seen as a very reliable food oil in my country and in France. It's been used more and more. Seems to be quite a healthy oil. It's sold by a number of brands and always mentions "huile de colza" or "koolzaadolie" in Belgium (my country is bi-lingual french/dutch).

Thing is, this colza-oil is called rapeseed oil in english!!! It had better be named colza-oil instead of rapeseed, which is another plant than the colza, used for industrial oils!

Colza is also the stuff that Canola is made off, at least, that's what I read, although they mentioned "a variety of colza" is used. It didn't mention genetically manipulated, which doesn't mean it's not manipulated. My guess is as good as any guess.
 
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I'm a big fan of canola.  Just like I'm a fan of corn and/or vegetable blended oils (corn/soybean/canola).  Or even blended olive & canola (like my favorite celebrity chef Michael Symon usually uses for cooking).  The lower saturated fat content is desirable for me and therefore it's in my kitchen.

I saw it mentioned earlier in the thread that folks try to pick 2 or so oils to cover their bases and that's my strategy as well.  I use a blended oil for most cooking and EVOO for drizzling on finished dishes and salads or in the unique sauteeing case where I want big, bold olive flavor.
 
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Interesting discussion.  Here's the point for me:  do I want to taste olive oil in what I'm cooking?  If yes, then I use it.  If no, then I use a more neutral oil.  I generally like olive oil, so will use a cheaper (not extra-virgin) oil for quick frying, etc.  I do, sometimes, if Santa's been good to me, have a more expensive EVOO around with a distinctive flavour that I use for 'finishing'.  I don't expose it to too much heat, and drizzle it over a finished dish simply because I like the flavour of it.  Other oils, especially, I'm led to believe, peanut oil, are more suited to deep-frying and other high-heat applications.  As several here have stated already, it simply depends on what you want to achieve with your oil.  Olive oil is great for salad dressings, but not all salad dressings; it depends on the salad.  Grapeseed oil is very neutral in flavour, so you can let other ingredients in your dressing shine through.  Again, it's what you want to achieve.  I love olives and olive oil, so I use it often.  It's up to you.  Remember also the great differences in olive oils in terms of flavour.  Try a Spanish extra virgin and a Tuscan extra virgin, and you'll certainly find some differences in them which will affect the flavour of your dish. 
 
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 I mainly use good olive oil in cold preparations or in low temperature preparations like to sweat onion/carrot/celery mix.
Me too.  Like ChefEd, I remember when practically overnight, everyone decided you should saute with olive oil.  Heard the other day about how heating olive to the smoking point did something that makes the oil unhealthy, wasnt paying too much attention though.  
 
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Olive Oil    Smoke points      x =virgin  320////  virgin  420///  pomace  460///// x-lite  468....Therefore how anyone can deep fry in pure olive oil is beyond me, and if you  blend it  you add all kinds of processed things to it..
 
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Olive Oil    Smoke points      x =virgin  320////  virgin  420///  pomace  460///// x-lite  468....Therefore how anyone can deep fry in pure olive oil is beyond me, and if you  blend it  you add all kinds of processed things to it..

What i do in my home kitchen can hardly be called "deep" frying - I would fry some breaded cutlets for the kids, or some rice croquettes with leftover risotto.  Occasionally some cauliflower or eggplant.  In a frying pan.  It doesn;t really count for deep frying and it was liked by the family.  A whole 'nother thing for a restaurant kitchen.  Now i use peanut generally, and it works great but it's just us older generation.  and i fry even less often. 
 

nicko

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In my experience really excellent olive oils produced in small batches (similar to coffee beans or wines) are so distinctive in flavor that you want to handle them with minimal processing. When I buy an exceptional olive oil I treat it with care. So much so I make sure it is not in direct sunlight, that I don't use it for frying or even sauteing. Even beating olive oil in an aluminum bowl with an aluminum whisk can really alter the flavor. I prefer to gently mix the olive oil in a glass bowl as opposed to a metal mixing bowl. With these types of olive oils I typically use them only for making a vinaigrette or for finishing a dish. 

For frying I like to use peanut oil since I think it gives the best taste. I have deep fried with olive oil but it just seems like a waste to me as the high heat completely breaks down all the meaningful characteristics of the oil. I have however worked in very high end restaurants where we fried artichoke chips in evoo. In retrospect I am not sure that was such a great idea. The one thing I do like fried in olive oil are eggs. My yia yia (grandmother) used to fry my eggs in olive oil and it really has a nice flavor. 

I have used canola oil but I think it's only redeeming quality is the cost savings. It has really been interesting reading all the info on Canola oil. Too tell you all the truth the more I read and learn about the Monsanto company the more I no longer want to use any of their products.
 
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    My current year harvested olive oils...

    

   I've got a picual from Chile and two from Spain (Castillo de Canna), an arbequina from Spain (CdC) and from Sicily.  I've also got a bottle of Royal olives from Spain, current harvest.  I've had the pleasure of buying a couple of these same olive oils year after year.  This is the largest difference I have tasted between any other years of fresh harvested olive oils across the board (comparing the same oil from previous year), all of the arbequina are much milder and less grassy aggressive tones.

   Canola, olive oil?  There's a time and a place for both.  Olive oil, especially certain types of olive oil are extremely flavorful and can overpower delicate proteins and mild tasting vegetables.  If I want a lighter, smooth olive oil I'll grab my French blend.  But I still use other oils for times I don't want to add a bunch of extra flavor.

  Dan
 
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I have found in the region an excellent alternative to fry on high temperature: Coconut oil. However, it provides some particular flavor in my opinion it's not disgusting at all. Contrary, could be nice...
 
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