Linseeds or Flaxseeds: Unraveling the Confusion

Ground flaxseed, whole linseeds, flaxseed oil, raw linseed oil – what exactly are these, and are they the same thing? Let’s dive into the world of linseeds and flaxseeds to unravel the mystery.

Are Linseeds and Flaxseeds the same thing?

In South Africa, linseeds and flaxseeds are interchangeable terms when it comes to purchasing edible seeds. They offer the same nutritional benefits. However, the confusion arises in English-speaking countries. The UK differentiates between linseed and flax, while the United States and Canada refer to both as flax. With the influence of American language spreading, especially in the food industry, the lines have become blurred.

Visually, linseed is a shorter plant with abundant branches and seeds. On the other hand, flaxseed is a taller plant, reaching three feet, with fewer branches. Linseed is ideal for extracting oil, while flax has been historically used for making linen, rope, and nets. Fascinatingly, there’s even a boat called Flaxland, constructed entirely from flax.

But let’s put farming and boat-making aside and focus on the deliciousness of eating! Linseeds are little powerhouses packed with protein and healthy fats, not to mention their affordability. So, let’s explore their uses further.

What are the uses of Linseed/Flaxseeds?

Whole linseeds:

Rich in protein, low in carbohydrates, gluten-free, and exceptionally high in fiber, whole linseeds offer a delightful nutty taste. Sprinkle them over salads, incorporate them into baked goods, or add them to your favorite smoothies.

However, if you want to extract all the nutrients from these tiny seeds, it’s best to grind them up.

Raw linseed oil:

Although you may encounter raw linseed oil in hardware shops or aisles, it’s not suitable for consumption. This type of linseed oil is typically thinned with solvents and intended for finishing wood projects, leaving behind a beautiful satin golden amber hue.

Ground flaxseeds:

You can find ground flaxseeds (yes, you guessed it, linseeds!) in stores, or you can grind them at home using a coffee grinder or a Nutribullet with an extraction blade. Grinding the seeds yourself enhances their shelf life. Remember, if the ground flaxseed tastes bitter, it might have gone rancid.

Ground flaxseeds work wonders as an egg replacement in vegan recipes or for those with egg allergies. They lend structure to your baking, just like eggs do. For every 1 tablespoon of ground flax, mix it with 3 tablespoons of water to substitute one egg.

If you’re looking to increase your fiber intake or reduce the carb count in your baking, add a few tablespoons of ground flaxseed to recipes like bread, flapjacks, muffins, meatloaf, or casseroles.

Remember, when incorporating whole or ground flaxseed into your diet, it’s essential to increase your water intake along with it to optimize its fiber benefits.

Flaxseed Oil (technically LINSEED oil):

Flaxseed oil boasts high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids (twice as much as fish) and Omega 6 fatty acids. Despite its numerous health benefits, it’s crucial to consume flaxseed oil in moderation, as it remains high in kilojoules.

Flaxseed/Linseed Recipes:

Looking for some inspiration to put your flaxseed or linseed to use? Here are a few delightful recipes to try:

  • Super Summer Quinoa & Oat Bowls
  • Flax Egg (Egg substitute in vegan diets)

Where can I get flaxseed or linseeds?

If you’re eager to incorporate flaxseed products into your diet, head to your local Food Lover’s Market. They offer a range of options, including Lemcke Flaxseed oil retailing for R49.99 for 250ml and You First Linseeds retailing for R34.99 per 500g (from the You First range).

Keep in mind that prices are subject to change, so it’s always best to check the latest prices during your visit.

So, whether you call them linseeds or flaxseeds, these nutrient-packed seeds are a versatile addition to your pantry. Start exploring their goodness today!

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