This time of year the Lincolnshire landscape is bright patchwork quilt of the brilliant yellow canola/rape seed. I LOVE IT – while yes its pretty to look at the pollen on the other hand can be a complete nightmare for some! which now brings me to today’s post that is all about ‘Heart of Gold’ Homegrown cold compressed rapeseed oil.
Heart of Gold Rapeseed Oil – TLC in a bottle
Heart of Gold is a 100% natural, pure, rapeseed oil grown, produced and bottled by farmer Nick Bradley on his farm overlooking the picturesque Vale of Belvoir, on the Lincolnshire/Leicestershire border. Bursting with flavour and oozing with healthy goodness, it’s a completely sustainable British product, originating from fields in the Heart of England.
Like many farmers, Nick was aware of a need to diversify, so he spent a considerable amount of time researching where there was a gap in the market which he could fill, using the resources at his disposal. An interest in cooking and healthy eating fuelled him to explore the possibility of converting some of his rape crop into a product that would be both nutritious and delicious. What originally began as a small-scale experiment for personal use quickly burgeoned into something much bigger.
He explains: ‘It soon became apparent that ‘olive oil’ had become shorthand for ‘oil’, simply because consumers were not aware that there were other, equally healthy, tasty and versatile options available. I loved the idea of a home-grown, locally produced oil, which would be high in flavoursome goodness but low on food miles. I’m very proud that Heart of Gold is grown, pressed, filtered and bottled in the same square mile, so it is completely sustainable and traceable.’
From sowing to harvesting, pressing to bottling, the process is hands-on and meticulously overseen by Nick. The tiny black seeds from the vibrant yellow oilseed rape flowers are harvested, cleaned and slowly crushed to extract the oil. It is then left to settle naturally, before being filtered, not once but three times, for maximum purity, taste and nutritional content. This method of cold pressing, whilst producing less volume, ensures the resulting golden oil is totally pure and unadulterated.
For its growing number of fans, rapeseed oil should need no introduction – but for anyone who is new to it, here’s a bit more background…
Rapeseed oil enjoys many health and culinary benefits. It has been proved to contain only half the saturated fat of olive oil and is packed with Vitamin E (a natural antioxidant) and Omegas 3, 6 & 9. In addition, it’s free from preservatives, trans-fats and artificial colourings, all of which make it the ideal choice for lowering cholesterol and promoting a healthy heart.
Not only is Heart of Gold rapeseed oil good for your heart and your general wellbeing, it tastes utterly delectable too. So much so that it was recently selected in a blind tasting of ten different oils by top London Chef, Tristan Welch, who uses only rapeseed oil in his kitchen at Launceston Place. He described Heart of Gold as having ‘a faintly nutty smell’ that ‘develops into a delicate flavour of fresh wild herbs. It tastes like a summer’s day!’
It can be used either cold or hot – where its high flashpoint makes it particularly versatile. Drizzle it on salad, pour it over pasta or swirl it round in a stir-fry! And what many people don’t realise is that rapeseed oil can be used in baking as well – just proving that healthy eating can still be a sensory and culinary delight!
Heart of Gold is still a young brand, but Nick’s enthusiasm for the product and for its future growth is plain to see. As well as establishing a growing network of stockists, including selected supermarkets (Waitrose, Tesco, Asda and the Co-op), delicatessens and farm shops (including online supplier www.northfieldfarm.com), Nick is also working on a range of flavoured oils and dressings to be launched soon.