Flax is one of the oldest cultivated plants on the planet. A true marvel, flaxseed is used for both food and textiles. In this article we’ll discover why the latin “linum usitatissimum” is the perfect name for this very useful plant.
What are flaxseeds?
Flaxseeds are the shiny, tiny seeds of the flax plant, aka linseed. Native to the Mediterranean and India subcontinent, flax is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. Flax is now grown globally and used in both textiles (flax fabric is used to make linen) and food (flaxseeds and linseed oil). Flax has contributed a great deal to our modern and postmodern history.
Modern flaxseed uses lean towards the health conscience. As a superfood, flaxseeds are brimming with nutrient dense goodies. Every tablespoon of flaxseed contains a substantial amount of protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, and calcium.
Flaxseeds provide a textural and flavorful boost to recipes, crunchy with a nutty, toasted, and earthy flavor.
How to use flaxseeds
There are 3 common culinary types of flaxseeds: whole, ground, and oil (often labeled linseed or flaxseed oil).
Whole flaxseeds can be added to recipes for a nutritious, crunchy boost. They are a very popular addition to breakfast recipes, adding additional nutritional value to parfaits, granola, savory scrambles, and bakes.
Linseed oil or flaxseed oil, is a great option for salad dressings and other cold oil preparations. The smoke point of flaxseed oil is lower than most vegetable oils, so it is best not to heat it.
Most health food focused grocers carry flaxseeds, ground flaxseeds, and flaxseed or linseed oil. The trick with processed flaxseeds (ground meal or oil) is that it needs to be used very soon after opening because it tends to have a short shelf life. To keep your flaxseed products fresh, store them in the refrigerator and be sure to keep an eye on those expiration dates.