Ground flaxseed, whole linseeds, flaxseed oil, raw linseed oil from the hardware shop – what are all these things, and are they different?
Are Linseeds and Flaxseeds the same thing?
Linseeds and flaxseeds are the same things when it comes to buying edibles here in South Africa. Nutritionally they are the same, the only difference can be seen in the plant itself. The confusing comes from the two big English-speaking countries. In the UK, they distinguish between linseed and flax, while in the United States and Canada, they refer to both as flax. As we get more influence from the American language, especially in the food industry, it seems the lines have become blurred.
Linseed is a shorter plant, with lots of branches and lots of seeds. Flaxseed is taller (3 feet) with fewer branches. Therefore, linseed is good for creating oil and flax has long been used to make linen, rope, and nets. There is even a boat called Flaxland, made completely of flax.
We, at Food Lover’s Market, are not too interested in farming, or making boats so let’s talk about EATING! Linseeds are tasty little protein-and healthy-fats packed, inexpensive seeds so we want to tell you a little more about them.
What are the uses of Linseed/Flaxseeds?
Linseeds are low in carbohydrates, gluten-free, high in protein, and very high in fibre. It has a pleasant nutty taste. It can be sprinkled over salads, baked-on/in bread, or added to your smoothies.
But ground up it is much easier to reap all the nutrients from the little seed…
Raw linseed oil:
This is the linseed you find in the hardware shop or aisle. While it will finish your wood projects off with a lovely satin golden amber hue, it is best avoided for eating as it is usually thinned with solvent!
You can buy the ground flaxseeds (yes, yes… the linseeds!) or you can ground them ourselves with a coffee grinder (or Nutribullet/Extraction blade). This will allow the seeds to have a longer shelf life. If the end product is ever bitter, you know your seed has gone rancid.
Ground flaxseeds are used as a magical egg replacement for vegan recipes or those with egg allergies. It gives structure to your baking, just as an egg would. 1 Tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 Tablespoons water = 1 Egg
If you are looking to increase your fibre intake, or reduce the carb count of your baking you can add a few tablespoons of ground flaxseed to most recipes, like bread, flapjacks, muffins, or even meatloaf or casseroles.
Tips for whole or ground flaxseed: When increasing your fibre, check to increase your water intake too.
(technically LINSEED oil) Flaxseed oil contains Omega 3 fatty acids (twice as much as fish) and Omega 6 fatty acids.
Tip for flaxseed oil: Despite having many health benefits, the oil is still high in kilojoules and should be eaten in moderation.
Flaxseed / Linseed Recipes:
- Super Summer Quinoa & Oat Bowls
- Flax Egg (Used as an egg substitute in a vegan diet)
Where can I get flaxseed or linseeds?
Find flaxseed products at your local Food Lover’s Market:
Lemcke Flaxseed oil retail for R49.99 for 250ml
You First Linseeds retail for R34.99 per 500g (You First range)
(price subject to the time of publishing – December 2020)
Essential or Ultimate Omega Seed Mixes most often contain flax/linseeds. You can buy our You First Essential 4 Seed Mix in a Food Lover’s Market store.