The word “canola” was coined from the phrase “Canadian Oil, low acid”—a plant developed from rapeseed (Brassica spp.) with low levels of erucic acid that is suitable for human consumption. Rapeseed is a species closely related to vegetables such as turnips, collards, mustard, and cabbage.
Rapeseed is a good crop for honey bees, offering both nectar and pollen in early spring. Huge acreages of it are planted in Canada (Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan) and in North Dakota and Minnesota. The nectar flows are heavy and yield huge crops of light-colored, mild-flavored honey.
Canola honey can crystallize in the field
However, rapeseed honey—commonly called canola honey—crystallizes so quickly that it is a problem for beekeepers. It will crystallize in the comb while still in the field. Many beekeepers go through their hives and pull out the combs of canola honey as soon as it is capped. After collecting, it should be extracted within 24 hours and marketed immediately. Extracted canola may last 3 to 4 weeks before it crystallizes in the jar.
As an alternative, many beekeepers use it to make creamed honey. But even this has to be done immediately or the honey will become nearly impossible to separate from the comb.
Most all canola is genetically modified
The other problem with canola honey is that 85-90% of the North American crop is genetically modified to resist herbicides. So if you would rather not eat plants whose DNA has been altered by mega chemical companies, you should probably avoid canola honey. This is sad because the farmers work hard, the beekeepers work hard, the bees work hard, and a rapeseed field in full bloom is a breathtaking sight.
However, I believe human beings should have the right to choose whether or not to eat genetically modified organisms. Until governments mandate the labeling of such products, people who want to avoid them pretty much have to avoid everything that may contain them.
Honey Bee Suite