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Seed CleaningFirst, the seeds are separated and cleaned. Seed ConditioningThe seeds are pre-heated to around 95℉ and ‘flaked’ inside roller mills to rupture the seed’s cell wall. Blooming canola flowersSeed CookingManufacturers use steam-heated cookers for cooking the seeds, typically for around 15-20 minutes at 176-221℉. PressingManufacturers use a series of expellers or screw presses to press the cooked canola seeds, which removes around 50-60% of the oil. Solvent ExtractionThe remaining seeds contain around 20% oil. Manufacturers use a chemical called hexane to break down the seeds and extract the remainder of the oil. DesolventizingTo strip any hexane from the seeds, manufacturers heat the seeds (canola meal) a third time at 203-239℉ using steam exposure. Oil ProcessingManufacturers refine the extracted oil with various methods, such as exposure to phosphoric acid, filtration through acid-activated clays, and steam distillation. To make shortening or margarine, manufacturers use a process called hydrogenation
, where molecules of hydrogen are pumped into
the canola oil to alter the chemical structure. The hydrogenation process extends the shelf life and allows the oil to become solid at room temperature, but it also creates artificial trans fats. Trans fats aren’t like natural fats found in whole foods like meat, fish, and dairy.