A staple in the kitchens of bakers and raw-food fans, flax seeds have a light, pleasant flavor and high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, lignans and fiber. While you can use flax seeds in dry form, soaking them neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and loosens various gums and fibers on the surface of the seeds. Soaking flax seeds also causes them to expand and become sticky, allowing you to make crackers, breads, cookies, and many other recipe items.
What are flax seeds?
- Flax seeds are tiny seeds rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be used a s a supplement and thickener in shakes and smoothies, or as a binder in crackers, crusts, or nut burgers. The list really goes on. Additionally, flax seed is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who limit their intake of starches and sugars. And its combination of healthy fat and high fiber content make it a great food for weight loss and maintenance — many dieters have found that flax seed has been a key to keeping them feeling satisfied.
How do you prepare them?
- To help make them more digestible, you can prepare them two ways.
- First you can soak the seeds. If you soak 1 cup of seeds, add 1 1/2 cups of water (enough to cover them). These seeds swell up. It will create a gelatinous fluid around the seeds. You can’t wash this off. This is part of the magic of flax seeds.
- Secondly, you can grind them in a coffee grinder, bullet or any other small unit that grinds things to a powder. Grind them as needed so they don’t go stale or lose their nutrients.
How to store flax seeds:
- The oil in flax is highly unsaturated. This means that it is very prone to oxidation (rancidity) unless it is stored correctly. The very best way is nature’s own storage system –- within the seed. Flax seeds not exposed to large amounts of heat stay safe to eat for at least a year. However, flax meal, and especially flax oil, are a different story. The meal, stored away from heat and light, will keep fresh for a few months, and the oil must be protected by refrigeration in dark containers, preferably being consumed within a few weeks of opening.