Organic drops of Sweden
Have you ever seen a satellite image of Sweden? Did you notice the area in the south that looks like a patchwork in different shades of green? That’s Skåne, a farm region blessed with fertile soil and a rich food culture. When the rapeseeds blossom, the patches are transformed into billowing golden fields. It’s a treat for anyone who gets to see it, and a sign that things are on track with one of Sweden’s best-kept culinary secrets – the rapeseed oil.
Rapeseed oil has been common in Swedish kitchens for ages. It’s always been appreciated for its cooking qualities. Now, it’s about to move out of the cabinet and take place right next to favorites like olive oil and fresh herbs.
Traditional red barns and new ideas
It all started with the trend of cultivating food and when people started to look in their own backyards to see what can be used in new ways. David Johansson, chef and one of our food designers, noticed that something interesting was happening in the red barns of Skåne. Farmers had begun to refine the rapeseeds and produce oils that were suited to put new flavors to dishes, not only carry other flavors in cooking. “It caught my attention and eventually led to the SMAKRIK rapeseed oils”, says David. There are two kinds of SMAKRIK rapeseed oils; a pressed and a cold-pressed. The pressed has a neutral flavor and is perfect for cooking, frying and baking. It also comes as butter-flavored. The cold-pressed has a nutty character and can take a more prominent role in the kitchen, as a final touch to zest almost any meal. It’s available in three flavors; dill, thyme, and wild garlic.
Organic farming and busy bees
The farmers that contribute to SMAKRIK oils follow strict ecological guidelines. No synthetic pesticides or fertilizers are sprayed on the fields – much to the joy of bees and other insects that gladly help with pollination in return. Besides preserving biodiversity, organic farming helps to maintain soil health too. The seeds are handled as carefully as the fields. All SMAKRIK rapeseed oils are pressed mechanically and filtered without any use of chemicals. The leftover seeds are used for baking or as forage to livestock. What separates the pressed from the cold-pressed oil is the temperature during the extraction of the golden drops. Gunnarshögs gård, a family-owned farm that goes generations back, uses the same gentle cold-pressing method that’s been used for centuries. The temperature never exceeds 95°F during the extraction of the oil. This method requires more seeds than pressing under higher temperatures. Approximately 6 pounds of seeds are needed to make one quart of cold-pressed oil.
Turning good into great
The organic and well-tried techniques used to make oils like SMAKRIK, has attracted the interest of Swedish foodies and chefs. David Johansson also points out the fact that many of us are becoming more aware of what we put in our bodies as a reason to why this oil is becoming increasingly popular. But, to many, the health aspect alone isn’t reason enough to eat or use certain food. It’s also about the taste. David gives some of his best tips on how to use SMAKRIK rapeseed oils. “The neutral, pressed oil is really good when you want to make a mayonnaise, the butter-flavored one can be used instead of butter when baking. The cold-pressed oil with dill flavor is great to curl over salmon before it’s served. The thyme and the wild garlic flavors fit perfectly with meat, just before it’s taken off the grill. Or why not as a last touch on top of the soup”, he says. SMAKRIK rapeseed oils are a great way to bring a touch of Swedish cooking into your home. Use them with your favorite ingredients, create new fusion cooking and experiment. The possibilities are as endless as the golden fields of Skåne.