Home: Issue 3 2010 › Purity & potency
Purity & potency
30/09/2010 | Channel:
A culinary oil of exceptional quality is being grown in the UK
Rapeseed oil is now recognised as one of the healthiest culinary oils available but it is not just for health reasons that many people are becoming ‘rapeseed converts’. Oleifera is an especially pure and high quality rapeseed oil that is vying for position with some extra virgin olive oils.
Oleifera was created by a collection of farming families, all dedicated to producing rapeseed oil of the highest quality. In the beginning there were 12 farms involved, all based in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. The original Oleifera brands, Naturally Northumberland and Brilliantly Borders, reflected the provenance of the seed produced between these growers.
Recently, Oleifera has partnered with a group of like-minded Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire farmers to create a third brand, Essentially English. The result is a collection of three exceptional oils, each with subtle variations in characteristics that are due to the differences in soil type rainfall and climate between the farms.
The story of the oil is much like any other food really – it begins with the seed. However, unlike many products in today’s world, Oleifera knows the name of the man who planted the seed, the name and exact location of the field in which it was planted, how many inches of rain fell on the seed and even the names of the people who drove the tractors at harvest time. The company can trace every single bottle of Oleifera to the exact field in which it was grown.
The flavour, colour and scent of the oil are very important. To make sure that every bottle of Oleifera is just right, quality control is key. This process doesn’t just start in the bottling line; it begins before the rapeseed crop is even grown with very careful field preparation, and then goes on with choosing the right variety of seed, ensuring the plants are carefully nurtured, harvested just at the right time to ensure maximum flavour, and stored in optimum conditions, and pressed correctly.
Oil that comes straight off the presses always contains some of the flesh and husk of the seed itself. To be absolutely sure that Oleifera oil is as pure as possible, this sediment is filtered out. Indeed, the oil is filtered a total of six times before bottling – the final filter can remove particles that are smaller than one-thousandth of a millimetre to ensure genuine purity.
Once filtered, the oil is pumped straight into bottles and containers, before being capped or corked and then labelled. All of this happens in a purpose built bottling facility. This is a white-walled clean area; the perfect environment for bottling an oil as pure as Oleifera.
Oleifera Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil is rich in Omega 3 with balanced levels of Omega 3, 6, and 9. The body cannot manufacture these nutrients on its own so they have to be provided by the food in your diet. Again cold pressed rapeseed oil is a good choice with over ten times the Omega 3 compared to olive oil.
Over the years, oils have had a somewhat negative press but since scientists have discovered the many and varied health benefits of different culinary oils, public perception is beginning to change. As the benefits of cold pressed rapeseed oil are unlocked, it is fast verging on becoming a super food.
Ed’s comments: Oleifera is certainly super! Starting with the bottle, with its long neck and contemporary styling, it’s clear this is a product of very high quality. It didn’t fit in my cupboard, and so it stands proudly beside the hob, ready for use and also making a nice addition to the kitchen décor. ‘Look at me,’ it says. ‘The person who cooks here knows about food.’ I like that very much.
The oil’s good looks continue with use - its beautiful deep yellow hue makes it ideal for salad dressings or drizzling – it immediately adds a visual punch to any dish. For frying, baking or roasting, it adds subtle flavour and crisps food well. Working equally well with sweet and savoury dishes, and its inherent health benefits, Oleifera must surely make a welcome addition to the kitchen of anyone who is serious about good food.