Storing Flax Seed
Whole flax seed comes in nature’s finest packaging, a natural hard outer-hull, that keeps it fresh and prevents the omega-3 oil inside every seed from going rancid. Once the seed is ground or cracked, the oil will start to oxidize but whole, dry flax seed is stable for at least one year at room temperature.
Some companies say that ground or cracked flax seeds can be stored in an air-tight container for at least four months. However, we believe that fresh is always best and suggest that you grind your flax seed fresh each day just before you use it.
How? Buy an inexpensive coffee grinder and use it exclusively for milling your flax seed. It’s fast, easy and you know that if you’ve ground it yourself, it’s fresh! Plus the money you save by grinding your own seed will more than make up the cost of a $15 coffee grinder. If daily grinding just won’t work for you, grind a week’s amount in advance and store it in the fridge or freezer in an air-tight container. No need to defrost the ground flax, just use it straight from the freezer or fridge.
Although you should never fry or cook with flax oil, whole or ground flax seed is stable when used in cooking and baking. Tests at the University of Toronto showed that there was almost no loss of omega-3 from flax seed under typical baking conditions. Although baking temperatures sound high, the heat is gentle because it is transferred indirectly through the hot air, rather than directly as in frying. The benefits of fibre in the flax seed are not affected by cooking either. The Flax Council of Canada says there are several studies that suggest there is no significant loss of lignans from baking. Likewise, studies show that there is little loss of omega-3 nutrients in high omega-3 eggs or cooked omega-3 fish.
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