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Nobody ever talked about super foods when I was growing up, so I had no idea about omega-3 fatty acids or flaxseeds. These days, flaxseeds are practically a pantry staple beloved by health researchers, doctors and nutritionists for its beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, a sprinkle of slightly sweet and nutty flaxseeds is an easy (and delicious) way to increase your daily fiber.
Flaxseeds can be purchased either brown or golden. Both are similar nutritionally, but some people prefer the flavor of the golden variety. Whole untoasted flaxseeds can be difficult to chew and often pass undigested through the digestive system. The good nutrition is stored inside the seed, so grinding or lightly toasting helps make them easier to digest. Here’s how:
- Grinding. A coffee grinder or a mini-food processor works great for grinding. Once ground, flaxseeds can be added to an assortment of baked goods, beverages, cereals and treats.
- Toasting. You can lightly toast the whole seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring to keep them from burning.
Buy only what you can use within a month and make sure to store them in the refrigerator or freezer. Here are some ideas and recipes for using flaxseeds.
- Sprinkle over yogurt, frozen yogurt, ice cream or non-dairy favorite.
- Sprinkle over or stir into hot cooked cereal like millet, oatmeal, or cream of wheat or rice.
- Sprinkle over cold cereal.
- Add to smoothies and protein powder shakes. How about Pumpkin Pie Smoothies topped with ground flaxseeds?
- Add to pancakes and waffles. Make Whole Grain Pancakes with Chia and Flaxseeds for a weekend breakfast or brunch.
- Add to muffins and quick breads. This Gluten-Free Flaxseed Muffins recipe is spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Chocolate Gelt Buttons are a fun treat any time of year. They’re made with sesame, poppy and flaxseeds.
- Stir whole toasted flaxseeds into almond or peanut butter. Spread on bread or crackers, or eat as you normally would.
- Make a pie crust. Combine 1 cup graham cracker crumbs with ¼ cup ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Press into a pie plate and chill for half an hour, then fill with custard, ice cream or other no-bake fillings.
Flaxseeds are also pressed into oil. Because flaxseed oil is delicate and unstable, look for an option in a dark opaque bottle, and store it in the refrigerator. Flaxseed oil is best raw and unheated. Here are some ideas for using flaxseed oil:
- Make salad dressing with a combination of flaxseed oil and extra virgin olive oil. Or, make our Flaxseed Oil Dressing with Herbs.
- Add a tablespoon to smoothies.
- Stir a tablespoon into cottage cheese, ricotta cheese or yogurt.
- Use in place of butter on mashed potatoes and hot cooked grains.
- Stir a little into tuna or egg salad.
- Stir into dips and spreads like hummus or bean dips.
Are you a fan of flaxseed and flaxseed oil? We’d love to know your favorite recipe ideas.