Ground or Unground?
When it comes to purchasing flax seeds, purchasing whole, unground flax is your best option. Once ground, more surface area is exposed to oxygen, and because flax is comprised of lots of healthy omega-3 fats, the more exposure those fats or oils have to oxygen, the quicker they will spoil.
That being said, if your local market only sells ground flax, don’t let that keep this superfood from your diet. Check the expiration date, buy as fresh as possible, and store properly.
Where to Store
In addition to oxygen, light and temperature can also cause the natural oils in flax to go bad. Store in a cool, dark place, preferably your freezer, and especially if your flax is pre-ground.
How to Use
Many of your recipes will likely call for ground flax seed. Again, ground flax has more surface area which also means that your body can better absorb its nutrients. I buy whole flax seed, grind about 1 cup at a time, and keep both the unground and ground flax in my freezer. Whenever I want to add flax to a recipe – a smoothie, my morning oatmeal, a salad, or in baking, I just measure what I need from the container of ground flax seed. Only grind what you’ll eat in about a week.
To begin incorporating flax into your diet, start with 1 teaspoon a day. Work your way up to 1 tablespoon.
Flax absorbs water and makes liquids thicker, particularly the longer it sits. If you decide to add ground flax to your smoothie, it’s best done just before drinking.
A great late night treat is Flax Pudding, a simple mixture of flax seed, water, nut milk, cinnamon, and sweetener. Add whatever fruit you have in the house, stir, and enjoy something sweet and good for you.
Here’s how to do it:
Blueberry Flax Pudding
½ cup ground flax seeds
1 cup water
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup almond milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 pinches of sea salt
Stevia to taste (or sweetener of choice)
¾ cup blueberries (or any fruit on hand)
Combine the ground flax with the water and coconut milk, stirring until thoroughly combined and no lumps of ground flax remain. Add the cinnamon, and sea salt, followed by the blueberries. Enjoy!