A field of yellow

Published 3 May 2015

Forget hills, mountains and lakes. Can there really be a feature quite so distinctive on the landscape as the bright yellow flowers of the rapeseed plant, growing in a field?

Stand on a hill and look down on farming country and the landscape will be filled with them; squares and rectangles of gold in an otherwise green landscape.

Rapeseed is an important crop for many farmers who can often – or so I am told – get two harvests out of a field if they play their cards right. And much of it ends up used in cooking. Look at the ingredients list of that mysteriously named “vegetable oil” bottle in your kitchen, and chances are that it will be 100% rapeseed oil.

That subterfuge in naming is almost inevitable, even if the name is derived from the Latin word for turnip – the rape plant being a brassica. Although you’ll increasingly find bottles of Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil on the shelves of your supermarket. And I urge you to buy a bottle. It’s a Great British Product, and the taste is divine in salad dressings and other cooking; far superior to that Extra Virgin Olive Oil stuff for my money.

Distinctive on the landscape, and cracking on the plate too. The perfect combination.

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