Thursday, December 2, 2010

Flax Seed: A great food storage item

When I buy something that I think I really need these days, I think twice about whether I could use it in an emergency. That doesn’t mean I go without things I want or need but it means that I always think, “Would this be beneficial in an emergency?” Let me give you an example.

In trying to prepare the things I think my family might need in a time of crisis or with limited resources, I think about how I would do different things. I’ve been using a lot of whole grains lately, and experimenting with different ways of doing things. I read on several blogs how other people do things. One of the big things these days is a small coffee grinder for things like milling flax seed, spices, grains, nuts and etc. I dreamed of being able to walk right into a store and find a non-electric one. It didn’t happen. But with the gift certificate my daughter gave me for my birthday, I got a marble Mortar and Pestle. I love experimenting with it. I can grind up flax seed and all kinds of fun things.

Most grain grinders can't grind flax seed due to it's high oil content. It will gum them up. You can blend them in your blender, food processor, or use a coffee grinder. You may want to find a small grinder which you only use for flaxseed. Try adding flax seed to bread, pancakes, and muffins; it gives them a unique taste. Roasting flax seed and using in bread and granola is also good.

Try adding ground flax seed to homemade bread; it does come out nicer – lighter and moister. Grind just enough to last a couple weeks, and keep it in the refrigerator, along with the whole seeds since oil rich foods tend to go rancid if not refrigerated. Add it to all sorts of baked goods (muffins, cookies, etc.) If you use an excess of whole flax seeds, they may have a laxative effect on you since the seeds are rather sturdy little things to digest. Maybe you want that, maybe you don't. Good to be aware of it. Start with a little and experiment. It is a great addition to your diet to add a little variety. In reading about Flax Seed, I read what one lady said, “I have coronary issues, so I add about 1/4 -1/2 cup flax seed to many of my recipes. It is loaded with those wonderful omega 3's I need for a healthy heart!”

I’m fascinated with the many recipes I’ve found lately that call for flax seed as an egg substitute. Also many recipes using whole grains call for whole flax seed as an ingredient.

Flax seed is high in most of the B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese, but there are three additional nutrient groups which flax seed has in abundance, and each has many benefits.

Flax Seed is Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids which are a key force against inflammation in our bodies. Mounting evidence shows that inflammation plays a part in many chronic diseases including heart disease, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and even some cancers. This inflammation is enhanced by having too little Omega-3 intake. Flax seed can be a real help.

Flax Seed is High in Fiber: You can’t find a food higher in fiber - both soluble and insoluble - than flax. This fiber is probably mainly responsible for the cholesterol-lowering effects of flax. Fiber in the diet also helps stabilize blood sugar, and, of course, promotes proper functioning of the intestines.

Flax seed is high in phytochemicals, including many antioxidants. It is perhaps our best source of lignans, which convert in our intestines to substances that tend to balance female hormones. There is evidence that lignans may promote fertility, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and possibly help prevent breast cancer. In addition, lignans may help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

However, flax seeds need to be ground to make the nutrients available (otherwise they just “pass through”) and the flax seed oil alone contains neither the fiber nor the phytochemicals of whole flax seed meal.

Flax seeds store well unless they are milled, then they need to be used up quickly. Because of the oil in flax seeds, they will go rancid quickly.

Flax seeds are found in many granolas, whole grain breads, crackers and cereals. You can throw some in a blender with a protein drink or a smoothie. Stir some into you yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit. Throw some into your pancake or muffin batter (you may need a little extra water) or use it when you make quick breads. Flax seed can be found in health stores or in your local grocery store by the oat bran and other "hot" cereals. If you buy it by the pound it is very inexpensive.

Storing powdered eggs is a good option for food storage but they can be a little pricey. Being able to substitute the inexpensive flaxseed is an inexpensive and healthy alternative. Because of the nutty flavor, flax seed substitution is generally only used in baking: breads, pancakes, waffles, cookies, etc.

You can also use milled flaxseed as an oil substitute (3T milled flaxseed = 1T fat or oil). It is just like using tried it yet pureed beans as an oil substitute, and both work well (1 part pureed beans = 1 part oil).

Flax Seed as an Egg substitute
1 T. milled (ground) flax seed
3 T. of water (amount of water may vary per recipe, but this is a pretty basic measurement).
Stir together and then let it sit for a few minutes so it can become gelatinous. Add to your recipe instead of the eggs.
Note: Flax seed is like wheat flour in that after it is milled (ground) it needs to be stored in the fridge. So after you open a box of milled flax seed, stick it in your fridge. Actually whole seeds can be stored in the pantry until ground.

Here are some recipes which call for flax seed. Try any of your own recipes using whole flax as an addition to the grains or mill it and use it in place of eggs or oil and see what you come up with.

Cranberry-Orange Muffins
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 T. orange rind
¾ c. orange juice
2 c. all purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
½ c. ground flaxseed
¾ c. granulated sugar
1 egg
Preheat oven to 350º. Spray or lightly oil muffin tins. In one bowl combine cranberries, 1/3 cup sugar, orange rind, juice and egg. In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt, ground flax and ¾ cup sugar. Combine cranberry mixture with flour mixture, just until blended. Fill baking tins half to 2/3 full. Bake 10-20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean. Remove and cool on rack. Yield: 12 muffins

This makes 2 (12”) pizza crusts
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
4 T. flax meal (ground flax seeds)
2 t.instant yeast
1 t. salt
1 1/3 c. water
1 T. olive oil
1 T. liquid honey
Load ingredients into breadmaker and set for "dough" cycle. Roll out into 2 crusts and place onto pizza pans, sprayed and sprinkled with cornmeal, if desired. Brush dough with olive oil and bake @ 400º for 5 minutes. Spread with desired sauce, and then a bit of cheese, meat and other toppings followed by a bit more cheese. Continue baking until crust is done and cheese is melted.

Two-Hour Buns with Flax Seed
1 T. fast rising instant yeast
4 c. flour
1/3 c. ground flax seed
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. lukewarm water
In a bowl, mix yeast, 2 cups flour and ground flax. In a large bowl, beat sugar, eggs and salt. Add water and stir. Add flour mixture to the liquid and beat until well blended. Add remaining flour as needed and knead well. Let rise 15 minutes. Punch down and let rise again for 15 minutes. Punch down and form into buns. Place on greased baking sheet allowing 2” between buns. Let rise one hour. Preheat oven to 350º; Bake 20 minutes. Remove and cool on a rack. Yield: 2 dozen 4” buns

Healthy Flax Seed Bread
This health conscious loaf makes GREAT toast & awesome sandwiches!
1 1/3 c. Skim milk
2 T. Olive oil
2 T. Blackstrap Molasses
1 1/2 t. salt
2 c. Whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c. white flour
1/4 c. flax seeds
1 1/2 t. yeast
Mix in your bread machine or as you would regular bread. variations: (These are excellent, and can be added on top of the flour, or wherever..!
1) add 2 Tsp. caraway seed
2) 1/3 cup dried cranberries
3) 2 TBSP wheat germ / or / cornmeal
This is the BEST brown bread recipe I have found.

Healthy Oatmeal Mix
3 2/3 cups of old fashioned oatmeal
1/3 cup ground flax seed (your body absorbs more nutrients when the flax seed is ground)
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup quinoa
Mix the ingredients in an air tight container.
To cook the oatmeal, mix 1/3 cup of oatmeal mix to 2/3 cup of water in a large microwave safe bowl. (It puffs as it cooks.) Cook on medium power for 5-6 min. Stir and enjoy. You can also cook on your stovetop. This is a great basic recipe. Eat plain with a little salt and butter, or add a little cinnamon and brown sugar, dried fruit or berries. Y: 18 servings

Lemon-Glazed Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins
Recipe from
Makes 6 -12 muffins
2 ½ c. flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
½ c. sugar
¼ t. salt
2 eggs, beaten*
1 c. buttermilk*
½ c. melted butter or 1/2 cup vegetable oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 t. vanilla
1 ½ c. blueberries
For the glaze:
½ c. powdered sugar
3 T. lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, butter or oil, lemon juice and vanilla. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in liquid ingredients, mixing quickly. Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups, almost to the top of each cup, and bake for 20 -30 minutes, or until golden brown. Wait a few minutes and then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool. In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar and lemon juice until it is the consistency of thin icing. Brush each muffin top with about 1 tsp. of the glaze.
*Tip: For a low-fat, low-cholesterol muffin with the same great flavor, try these tips...Instead of buttermilk, substitute 1 c. almond, rice or soy milk. **Instead of egg, make a flax seed "egg." Use 1 T. milled flax seed and 3 T. water. Mix and then let sit for 10 minutes or so (it fluffs), and add to mixture. You can use this as a substitute for eggs in just about any dish

1 comment:

Nutrapro said...

I agree with the author that Flax seeds are good food storage item.
Just want to let your readers know that you can buy ready to eat premium quality flax seeds (FlaxPro) at this website:

The seeds are packed in a air tight plastic shaker jars. No need to even grind.