Camelina oil was brought to my attention a couple of years ago when I was traveling around Italy. It seems some of my best ideas, luck, products, people, experiences, food and loves come when I am traveling around Italy.
But I digress.
We were minding our own business in Tuscany when I received an email from a producer of camelina oil asking me if I had ever heard of it.
“Cam-e-who oil?” I know you’re likely thinking the same thing.
So I did what I always do when confronted with something about which I know nothing. I read and researched and checked with people who know more than me. After I did all this, I thought, “where have you been all my life, Camelina?”
Here’s the scoop. The use of camelina dates back to the 4th century when it was enjoyed in seed form in porridges and as everyday oil. It fell from favor during the Industrial Revolution as it could not be easily hydrogenated and turned into cheap margarine. It has recently come back into favor for its many health benefits including high levels of omega-3 and one of the richest sources of vitamin E (tocopherol) in any oil.
So what, you say? With so many supplements and nutraceutical oils as sources of omega-3, why do we need another? Read on dear one.
Unlike other high omega-3 oils, camelina oil (made up of about 35% omega 3’s) can be used as a high heat cooking oil. Wait…what?
The unique combination of monounsaturated fat and antioxidants in the oil provides for a smoke point of 475oF with no damage to the delicate omega-3’s.
Pressed from the whole seed, camelina oil has a deliciously earthy flavor and aroma unique to it. And did I mention it’s completely raw?
While I am not throwing in the towel on cooking with my beloved extra virgin olive and avocado oils, camelina oil is a unique and (in my view) essential cooking oil for every single person committed to health and wellness…which is all of us, right?
I love that you can use it raw, as a nutraceutical, in dressings and sauces and as a cooking oil wherever you might use oil.
And that’s not all. Camelina seed is also amazing. Not unlike chia seeds, these little golden seeds are hydrophyllic (holding 10 times their weight in water), so they help keep us hydrated. And also like chia; if you soak them, they become “goopy” and work well in baking as an egg substitute. I love having options…chia, camelina, chia camelina…how to choose? Use both, I say.
Produced here in the US, in Washington State, camelina has come home. With production of both oil and seed, Ole World Oil, the latest venture by a 200-year old small family farm, Curt Greenwalt and his two sons are out to quietly revolutionize cooking oil deliciously with an ancient seed and oil that might just be the answer to our modern way of cooking and maintaining our health and wellness.
Where do you find this amazing oil and seed? Glad you asked. We have just had the honor of adding both the seed and the oil to our store at christinacooks.com. Get some…now. You will love it.