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Move up Chia, Flax is back!

Whenever I start to second guess my ideas for tweaking recipes, I remember my friend Chef Andrea Potter advising that there are no tweaking rules and I can do whatever I like.

With that in mind, I decided to bake my favourite gluten free beany bread with ground flaxseeds as a substitute for eggs.

The bread didn’t rise as high, had a stickier feel to it and was more chewy. I liked it and am in awe of how versatile these seeds are.

Which makes me sad that chia seeds are being promoted all over the place as a superfood and my flax seems to have been abandoned! Yes, chia is awesome for you, but flax is equally magical in its own way, cheaper and deserves some of the spotlight too.

Here’s the snapshot version of a great article on flaxseeds by Leslie Beck a leading Canadian nutritionist and columnist. As you read, think about how you use flaxseeds or any new ideas you have on incorporating them in recipes, then message me. Don’t second guess!

Nutritional benefits

  • Flaxseeds contain contains omega-3 fats including alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which has anti-inflammatory properties in the body.
  • The fibre in flax is mainly soluble, the type that lowers (LDL) bad cholesterol.
  • Flax is rich in lignans – phytochemicals that possesss anit-cancer properties. Studies hint that a regular intake of flax can guard against breast and prostate cancers.

Buying

  • If you purchase whole flaxseeds in bulk, make sure the bins are covered and that the store has a high product turnover to ensure fresh product. Check that there are no signs of moisture in the seeds.
  • Avoid buying ground flax in bulk because it quickly goes rancid once the nutrients are exposed to heat, light and moisture. If you must, purchase ground flaxseeds in a vacuum-sealed package.

Storing

  • Store whole flaxseeds in an airtight container in a dark, dry and cool place where they will keep fresh for up to a year. Grind as you need them in a coffee grinder or food processor.
  • Store ground flaxseeds in a tightly sealed container in the fridge or freezer for up to 6 months.

Eating

  • Add ground flaxseed to your diet instead of whole seeds. That’s because whole flaxseeds may pass through your intestine undigested, and you won’t absorb their nutrients and phytochemicals.
  • 2 tablespoons of ground flax a day is optimal.
  • Flaxseeds add flavour and texture to baked goods, meatloaf and casseroles, can be stirred into hot cereal, or sprinkled on yogurt.
  • Ground flaxseeds can be used to thicken soups and stews, and can be used as an alternative to eggs in muffin, cookie and quick bread recipes (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed combined with 3 tablespoons water is equivalent to one medium egg). When used as an egg replacement, baked goods will tend to have a slightly chewier texture and may not rise as high.
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