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Flax Seeds

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Flax Seeds Linum usitatissimum

Flax seed, Cricket anyone?

I am amazed sometimes at how popular an item can become. Last week all anyone wanted to talk about was cream of tartar. Now the subject seems to be flax seeds. I didn’t carry them for the longest time at the store because I had always thought of them as “health food”. Those of you that know me from the store know that I try to draw the line between culinary and health. There are a lot of health food stores but not very many stores that specialize in the culinary side of herbs and spices. So, I’ve tried to maintain that line. Well, it turns out that flax seeds are good to eat also.

The weird thing about flax seeds is that their oil is used in a lot of different products. Using its other name, linseed oil, it is used as a binder in paint, it is used in putty, and, as any good woodworker knows, it is a great oil to use when working with beautifully grained woods. Even the fire department uses it on wooden handles of implements they use because it doesn’t cause static electricity like regular varnishes would. Finally, in all countries where cricket is a past time, they are all very aware of flax seed oil. It is the oil that is used on cricket bats to keep them in tip top shape. Wow! All that and its edible.

Flax seeds contain very high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, the same kind that are found in red fleshed fish like salmon and arctic char. These are the fatty acids that are very good for you. It does all of this while being very low in carbohydrates. We all should try to eat more of these, if we can. Flax seeds come in two colors. The more common is brown, but there is also a yellow or golden variety. It is often harder to find. Flax seeds can be used in smoothies, oat meal, cereal, yogurt or anywhere a nice nutty flavor is desired. For those with a problem with eggs, one tablespoon of ground flax seeds and three tablespoons of water may serve as a replacement for one egg in baking. The sprouts of the flaxseed plant are edible too. Rather than a nutty flavor as the seeds have, they are a little spicy.

Flax seeds are one more of the edible plants that have been used for thousands of years. The plants ability to be used to make fiber, so fine that it is used to make damask and linen, has kept flax important from previous eras to modern times.

Recipes

flax Seed Pizza Dough