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Camelina oil – Oil of the celts

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Camelina oil in nutrition

It has been proven by nutritional science: having a diet that is high in plant oils prevents numerous diseases and health problems. It is, however, important to be aware that there are two different kinds of plant oil: industrially-processed, refined edible oil (which can be recognised by its general lack of aroma and taste and whose health benefits are doubtable) and cold-pressed edible oil, for example camelina oil, with its unspoiled taste, colour and positive characteristics.

Taste is the art of understanding the little things

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Camelina in History

Camelina (Camelina sativa Crtz.) was first cultivated a very long time ago. It was being used as a dietary supplement as far back as the Stone Age. The Celts valued the seeds for their taste and their properties. In the late Middle Ages, oil plants that also provided fibres that could be used to make clothing became popular, such as hemp or flax. As camelina did not have any textile fibres, it was considered a 'weed' that reduced the yield of crops and it had no appeal for agriculture. Ist existence was practically forgotten.

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Camelina in Saarland (Germany)

This development also had many benefits, as we now know: the camelina has retained its original characteristics. In the region of what is now Saarland we can find evidence for the earlier use of false flax. In 1546, the botanist Hieronymus Bock, who was a court physician to the counts of Saarbrücken, described the 'Flachsdotter' (false flax) as a cultivated plant. In the 18th century the church in Blieskastel ordered '28 measures of oil' of 'Totter' (false flax) from the oil mill. In Saarland, crop trials in recent years have led to a rediscovery of the potential of camelina and its re-integration into the ecological agriculture there. It yields sizeable crops, but this takes place in harmony with nature.

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Production

The false flax's oily seeds are gently coldpressed with screw mills, the sediment is removed and the oil is poured into lightproof bottles. If stored in a refrigerator, camelina oil can keep for at least 9 months. Once the bottle has been opened, the oil should be consumed promptly.

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Health

An analysis of the fatty acid composition reveals a surprising picture: camelina oil has many of the positive characteristics of other edible oils. The high content in alpha-linoleic acid (40 to 46 per cent) and linoleic acid (14 to 19 per cent) is of particular interest. This means that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in camelina is roughly 1:3. This value comes very close to the ideal values defined by the German Society for Nutrition (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung). Studies have shown that high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids impede the growth of cancer cells. Another important fatty acid contained in camelina oil is monounsaturated oleic acid, which is believed to have a positive influence on cholesterol levels in the blood.

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Taste

Camelina oil possesses a very delicate and extraordinarily fine aroma, which is slightly spicy and has the scent of freshly-mown dandelions. In taste, it is somewhat reminiscent of peas and has a mild, full and rounded yet at the same time piquant taste - a taste that can only be found in the outstanding oils produced in Saarland. Camelina oil is therefore the ideal complement to cold dishes.

„After linseed oil, camelina oil has the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids improve mental performance and the fluidity of the blood. They also have anti-inflammatory effects. Just one teaspoon of camelina oil contains the daily recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids.“ 

Ina Kramer
Practice for Naturopathic Medicine, Saarbrücken

 

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Recipes from Cliff Hämmerle, Hämmerles Restaurant, Blieskastel

Bliesgau pesto

50g basil
20g roasted pumpkin seeds
20g Böckweiler mountain cheese
20g mint
30g parsley
50ml camelina oil
50ml balsamic vinegar
Mix all ingredients together in a measuring jug and season with a little sugar and pepper.

Saddle of lamb in camelina oil and wild garlic

The saddle of lamb is lightly salted and vacuum-packed with some camelina oil and chopped wild garlic. Poach in a bain-marie at 58°C for roughly 25 minutes. Gently roast the lamb and cook 'au gratin' with onion confit and roasted breadcrumbs. To accompany this dish we recommend a jus of lamb, port wine, fresh green beans and a potato gâteau.

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… from Malte Mehler, Medelsheim

Avocado slices with anchovies and salted almonds

Makes enough for four people
2 ripened avocados
2 tbsp sultanas
2 tbsp pine kernels
1 small glass anchovies
2 tbsp camelina oil
1 tbsp olive oil
200ml dry white wine
3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
200g almonds
1 egg white
1 tsp coarse sea salt, salt, black pepper

Spread unblanched almonds over baking tray and roast for around 10 minutes at 220°C. Lightly beat the egg white. Add sea salt, followed by the almonds. Mix together well, making sure the almonds are covered with the egg white/salt mixture. Place the almonds back on the baking tray without them touching, as before. Place the baking tray back in the oven for five minutes. Briefly boil the sultanas in a little white wine. Briefly roast pine kernels in a pan with no oil.
Dab anchovies dry with paper towel, and cut them into strips lengthways. Stir together a marinade from the camelina oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cut avocados in half, peel them and cut them into thin slices. Fan the slices out on a platter and drizzle half of the marinade over them. Dry off the sultanas, add them to the avocado along with the pine kernels, roasted, salted almonds and anchovies and drizzle with the remaining marinade.

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… from Markus Keller, Wern's Mühle, Ottweiler/Fürth

Beetroot Carpaccio with fried scampi, cottage cheese and camelina oil rocket pesto

Beetroot Carpaccio:
Makes enough for 4 people:
1 medium beetroot
6 large scampi tails
1 small cup of cottage cheese
1 large piece of parmesan cheese
100g pine kernels
4 nasturtium blossoms
4 chicory leaves
2 bunches of rocket salad
1 small packet of fresh bean sprouts
1 mushroom
a few lettuce leaves: e.g. oak-leaf, butterhead,
frisée or Lollo Rosso lettuce
2 radishes

Rocket pesto:
100g rocket
60g flat-leaf parsley
60g pine kernels
4 small cloves of garlic
10g coarse sea salt
100g parmesan cheese
1/4 L camelina oil

For the vinaigrette:
balsamic vinegar red wine vinegar pepper, salt, a little sugar half a teaspoon of mustard horseradish and camelina oil to taste Wash beetroot well and cook unpeeled in salt water until soft. Then peel and leave to cool. Cut the beetroot into wafer-thin slices, arrange them on the plate and marinade with the vinaigrette. Grate parmesan over beetroot, add pine kernels and mushroom. Add remaining vinaigrette to leaf salad. Using a teaspoon, arrange the cottage cheese on the beetroot slices and garnish with radishes, nasturtium leaves and bean sprouts. Season the scampi tails with salt and pepper, fry them briefly in olive oil and butter and put them on the plate. To finish, arrange the rocket pesto on the edge of the plate. Bon appétit!

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… and from Sigrun Essenpreis, Wein& Genuss Zentrum, Nonnweiler-Sitzerath

Jerusalem artichoke chips with pickled lemon mayonnaise, along with sauerkraut-carrot salad with a camelina oil vinaigrette

Mayonnaise:
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Fallot Dijon mustard, fine
50ml camelina oil
8g pickled lemon peel

Beat the egg yolk together with the lemon juice and the Dijon mustard with an egg whisk until the mixture thickens (about 1 min.); then add the camelina oil drop by drop whilst continuing to stir vigorously until the mixture becomes very thick, and then add the remaining oil in a thin stream whilst stirring constantly. To finish off, stir in the pickled lemon peel.

Sauerkraut-carrot salad:
150g sauerkraut
100g carrots, peeled and roughly grated
50g walnuts, roughly chopped
2 tbsp Paulus lemon balm vinegar
6 tbsp Bioland Hof Comtesse camelina oil
6 pinches fleur de sel

Mix the sauerkraut, the carrots and the walnuts together; then stir the lemon balm vinegar, the camelina oil and the fleur de sel with an egg whisk and use it to dress the sauerkraut, carrots and walnuts.

Jerusalem artichoke chips:
500g Jerusalem artichokes
lemon juice
flour
deep-frying fat
fleur de sel

Peel the Jerusalem artichokes and cut them into small pieces like chips; roll them in flour and fry them; take them out of the fat and salt them as if they were chips. Place the Jerusalem artichoke chips in porcelain chip to bowls; add one tablespoon of mayonnaise into the corner of the bowl; place the bowl on a large white plate and arrange the sauerkraut-carrot salad in front of it.

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