Yorkshire rapeseed oil at its best!

Stick a product on TV and it’ll sell. Get a celebrity chef to give it a mention or three and it’ll fly off the shelves. That’s certainly the case with the newest craze with foodies – a new love of rapeseed oil – but is it actually any good?

The answer: YES it’s bloody marvellous!

It’s not long ago that people would associate rapeseed oil with bio diesel. In fact, two wine writers I met recently said just that to me. But these days, and after a bit of tinkering, the luscious thickness to the oil delivers great flavour.

Farmers in Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil FieldSo let’s turn our attention to the best producers of this fine oil. Yes, you guessed it, Yorkshire. Passionate Yorkshire man James Martin won’t shut up about Yorkshire rapeseed oil at the moment, but he’s got every right to jump up and down about it.

Yorkshire’s climate for once works in its favour. The free draining fertile limestone soil produces a prolific rape crop that certainly adds an element of delight to the fields of God’s Own County with its luscious yellow glow.

The thickness of the oil makes it ideal for salad dressings. A glug of Yorkshire rapeseed oil, a teaspoon of mustard, a squeeze of lemon or a cap-full of white wine vinegar, a squeeze of honey with a grinding of salt and pepper will produce something spectacular. No long-winded recipes needed here. Simply mix to taste and give a shake – lush!

If it’s absolute simplicity you’re looking for straight out of bottle, then simply dip fresh crusty bread into a small dish of oil (Wharfe Valley produce an outstanding lemon flavoured oil) for a flavour that makes olive oil seem a thing of the past.

And, of course, let’s talk Yorkshire Puddings. Because of its thick consistency, rapeseed oil can reach temperatures that only other oils could dream of, making it a great oil for Yorkshire Puddings. Get it smoking hot before adding your batter, it won’t burn and therefore won’t give your Yorkshire’s a nasty bitter taste like some oils can!

As with most things, the supermarkets have already jumped on the bandwagon and are producing a mass of rapeseed oil from who-knows-where, but if it’s real Yorkshire rapeseed oil you’re looking for, you need to turn your attentions to Wharfe Valley.

The finest Yorkshire Rapeseed OilThe Kilby family is third-generation farmers who have been in Collingham just south of Wetherby in Yorkshire since the 1960s, adding oil seed rape to the traditional crop rotation in the early 1980s. Wharfe Valley Farms takes its name from the beautiful Wharfe Valley in Yorkshire.

Farming had been tough for many years so they researched the possibility of converting a homegrown crop into a finished product. Consulting with DEFRA (The Department of Environment Farming and Rural Affairs) and with the help of grants from them and Yorkshire Forward, they were able to embark on a new venture into the production of culinary Yorkshire rapeseed oil. As a result they are now pressing their own Yorkshire rapeseed oil in their specially designed and built pressroom on the farm.

You won’t find Wharfe Valley in the supermarkets. It’s sold as a premium quality product only available in health food stores, delis, farm shops and online.

Once you buy one bottle, imported olive oil will never bless the shelves of your kitchen ever again!