Ground flax seed is a useful addition to the cupboard of vegans and vegetarians. This versatile product has many uses.
Flax, or linseed, has long played an important part in cultures throughout the world. Flax fibers have been used to create linen and have also been used as roofing for homes and to make rope. Many people are also surprised to learn that some countries use flax to create paper that is used in banknotes. In addition to the ways that flax fibers are used, flax seeds also have an important role to play. Flax seeds are highly nutritious and provide many of the essential minerals that help to support good health.
While flax seeds have undoubted health giving properties, if they are eaten whole they are not completely digested. This means that they pass through the system without giving the full nutritional benefit. Grinding flax seeds is the best way to consume the seeds as this is easier to digest.
Using Ground Flax Seed
There are many great ways that ground flax seed can be used. People following low carbohydrate diets, such as the South Beach Diet, or who suffer from a wheat intolerance will be familiar with the way that ground flax seeds can be used as a flour substitute. Cookies, muffins and even a passable imitation of bread can be made with ground flax seeds.
Buying Ground Flax
While it is possible to buy ready-ground flax seed, many people prefer to grind their own. Buying ready-ground flax is undoubtedly more convenient than grinding seeds at home, but grinding whole seeds is more economical. Whole seeds also have a substantially longer shelf life than ground flax seeds. This is because when seeds are ground their inner oils are released, and like all oily products, can go rancid after a while. This is why ground seeds should always be kept in the refrigerator.
How to Grind Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are extremely hard and care needs to be taken when grinding them. While they can be ground in spice mills or coffee grinders, it is also possible to buy a specially designed flax mill. It is generally best to use a grinder that has been designed for grinding hard seeds such as spices and coffee as domestic food processor motors may struggle grinding flax. This can result in the motor becoming burned out. Food processors are also unlikely to grind the flax to a smooth and even pulp.
It is also possible to grind flax by hand and this is ideal for small quantities. Any pestle and mortar is fine for hand grinding flax seeds.
Flax Seed Recipes
Here are some interesting flax seed recipes that are simple to cook at home:
- Honey and flax seed loaf - not suitable for vegans. This loaf can be made using a bread maker which makes it very convenient to bake.
- Bran flax muffins - these tasty looking muffins contain ground carrot. To make a vegan version replace the milk with water and use an egg substitute.
- Garbis 'world famous' bread - suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Flax seeds are an interesting ingredient and have many benefits for vegetarians and vegans. In addition to bringing important nutritional benefits, they also provide a rich nutty taste and texture to dishes. This makes them extremely versatile. If you are yet to give ground flax seeds a try, then perhaps now is the time to do so!