Flax seeds taste nutty with a hint of grassiness or a quality of earth when they are fresh. They have the added bonus of being fun to eat because they are so small and chewy.
Flax seeds have gotten quite a boost in popularity in recent years because of their reputation for being high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Although it may seem to some that flax is a relative newcomer on the scene of food and health, it is in fact, very old. Flax also goes by the name linseed and has been popular in cultures all over the world for thousands of years. Flax is still today cultivated as fiber, food, and medicine giving it some major brownie points for being so versatile.
From a culinary perspective, flax is a great addition to baked goods both sweet and savory. They can also be sprinkled in a variety of dishes to add a hint of nutty flavor without actually adding nuts.
From a health perspective, while flax may sound wonderful and it is... all things in moderation. Unsoaked flax seeds have the same issue that many seeds and nuts have, which is their nutrients are protected by phytic acid. The only way to get to the nutrients and break down the phytic acid is either by soaking or by cooking. (I’m sure there are other ways but those are the quickest and easiest). I either soak mine or give them a quick low heat sauté and then grind them once they have cooled.
Flax seeds have been touted as a superfood because they are high in fiber and high in essential fatty acids. There have been a variety of studies conducted on the benefits of flax seeds; some demonstrating that the chemical compounds can help lower cholesterol, decrease oxidative stress, balance blood sugar and decrease intestinal inflammatory response. If you do include consumption of flax seeds in your diet, make sure you are consuming enough liquids and maybe spreading out the consumption through a variety of meals rather than one large amount. This will inhibit the potential for intestinal blockage.
Cheesy almond and flax seed crackers
- 1 cup finely ground almond flour (meal)
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons ground flax meal
- 1/2 teaspoon of a savory herb (this is optional, I have used rosemary, oregano and/or thyme)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1 large egg (if you choose to just use egg white, make sure you add 1 tsp of olive oil)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You will need to roll the dough out between two pieces of baking or parchment paper. Combine all ingredients in food processor. Scoop onto parchment, place another sheet over the top and roll out to about 1/4 inch or pie crust thickness. Remove the top parchment and use a knife or pizza cutter to cut crackers into squares. Move the crackers while still on parchment to a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes. When they are nicely browned, remove them from oven and let them cool before enjoying. Keep in an airtight container.