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How to grind flaxseeds at home ?


michael55m
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I use a mortar and pestle for small amounts of seeds, mostly spices though it works for flax too, or an old fashioned grain grinder with a big hand crank that slowly turns a large knurled steel plate against another under pressure for larger amounts like flax which I then freeze.  I don't get a fine grind but I think minimal processing/heating is best.

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3 hours ago, Todd Allen said:

I use a mortar and pestle for small amounts of seeds, mostly spices though it works for flax too, or an old fashioned grain grinder with a big hand crank that slowly turns a large knurled steel plate against another under pressure for larger amounts like flax which I then freeze.  I don't get a fine grind but I think minimal processing/heating is best.

This is the best way. Never buy ground flaxmeal - not only do you not know how long it's been on the shelf, but the oils oxidise very fast in room temperature once the seed has been ground. And Todd Allen is right - grinding with a mechanical grinder is best, as the grinder doesn't generate heat with the blades the way an electrical grinder does -  heat is the enemy of easily oxidised oils, such as those in flax seeds. On the other hand, I'm not sure a mortar and pestle is best, because the grind might be too coarse and you're not getting optimal exposure.

Because I'm lazy (and pressed for time), I use a coffee grinder (boo!) - but I pulse it, meaning I let it grind in 1-2 second bursts with 3 second breaks between to cool off the blades and hope that the heat damage is minimal. I grind up roughly 5 day's worth of flaxseeds (I consume 1tbsp of ground flaxseeds a day) and I store the 5 days worth of ground flaxseeds in the freezer - where I keep the whole flaxseeds too.

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8 hours ago, michael55m said:

Another question: Just to grind raw flaxseeds or to heat/microwave/bake flaxseeds beforehand ?  

I grind them raw.  I typically use them in modest quantities due to high phytoestrogen content and thus am not concerned about phytates and other compounds roasting might reduce.  Heating can degrade the fats which I want as pristine as possible.

If you are trying to maximize healthfulness sprouting might be best although like mustard and chia flax develop a gel coat and require sprouting trays and more space than seeds which can be sprouted in jars.

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I will expose my ignorance here and admit I buy ground flaxseed (webber from Costco) which I tell myself has a high-turnover/short shelf-life and store it in the freezer when I get home.  Now that's lazy.  These are air-tight sealed bags prior to purchase that are sealed between use and stored in the freezer

I operate under the premise/assumption that improving my omega 6:3 ration is more important that any (negative) impact from the oxidization of the seeds. 

Same with my purchase of walnuts and small amounts of fish oil; store purchased, stored in the freezer.

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Thank you for the reply.

I am told that raw flaxseeds contain toxic cyanogenic glycosides, but some argue that's exactly the reason why flaxseeds exhibit certain anti-cancer effects. In addition, heated flaxseed oil may also produce dangerous aldehydes.

So now I prefer to grind raw flaxseeds myself, and consume 1~ 2 tbsp daily.

To get more omega 3, I am going to consume some raw perilla seeds.( high linolenic acid ratio, extremely low methionine, cholesterol lowering and anti-cancer )

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21 hours ago, Clinton said:

I will expose my ignorance here and admit I buy ground flaxseed (webber from Costco) which I tell myself has a high-turnover/short shelf-life and store it in the freezer

It might be ok.  Perhaps one way to get a better sense of it would be to buy some fresh raw whole seeds, carefully grind  them, and do a direct comparison and see if you can taste or smell any difference in freshness.  I have read though that many people find the taste of slightly rancid canola and soy preferable to perfectly fresh as fresh tends to be insipid.  Haven't had those in a long time and not sure if that might apply to flax.

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 I have read though that many people find the taste of slightly rancid canola and soy preferable to perfectly fresh as fresh tends to be insipid. 

Many people prefer rancid olive oil too, and that's down to the fact that they're simply used to it and regard that as the right taste - mostly because that's the majority of olive oil they're exposed to in restaurants etc., where it simply is not fresh. Fresh OO tastes different (sometimes "harsh", or peppery), and people who are not used to it think that indicates it's gone bad, when the opposite is true.

Just to grind raw flaxseeds or to heat/microwave/bake flaxseeds beforehand ?

I don't see any reason to do anything to the seeds prior to grinding. I buy them raw and store them in the freezer and grind as needed.

I am told that raw flaxseeds contain toxic cyanogenic glycosides

They do, but in quantities likely to be consumed, are not a problem. A bigger concern is that they might have the same danger wrt. dementia as soy products due to analogous agents. 

 

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2 hours ago, TomBAvoider said:

They do, but in quantities likely to be consumed, are not a problem. A bigger concern is that they might have the same danger wrt. dementia as soy products due to analogous agents. 

Isn't it still unresolved whether soy is a risk factor for dementia and if so whether it is due to phytoestrogens or other compounds within soy or perhaps something like aluminum contamination in processing such as for tofu?   If it is due to phytoestrogens then maybe flax is a concern due to much higher levels, but on the other hand I rarely have more than a tablespoon of flax a day while most consuming soy often ingest much larger quantities.

 

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The evidence that soy is associated with dementia is very weak.  It comes from an old post by Michael Rae; Michael admits that the evidence is weak.

In fact, at the last CR Conference, Michael was unhappy that tofu wasn't available for the vegans who attended, such as Dean Pommerlau.  (I pointed out that garbanzo beans were available -- I personally doubt that edemame is "dementia inducing".

  --  Saul 

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Two studies in English have shown some correlation between dementia and tofu consumption in Javanese and Japanese American populations.( Have they adjusted for VB12 intake?)

I also found an article in Chinese saying whole soy is fine while tofu needs careful examination, because there are at least 3 different kinds of coagulants used for making tofu. 

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Isn't it still unresolved whether soy is a risk factor for dementia and if so whether it is due to phytoestrogens or other compounds within soy or perhaps something like aluminum contamination in processing such as for tofu?

I don't believe the "aluminum contamination" hypothesis was ever taken particularly seriously. The question may be regarded as unresolved, perhaps because it really is resting primarily on one study - the Lon White one. BUT on the other hand, it is a very well designed study and there is a clear dose-response effect. It's very powerful. It would be nice to have more studies, certainly, but the question arises on what grounds do we determine whether an issue has been settled or not - if there is an excellent study, do we call it "unsettled" merely because it's the only one? Anyhow, I'm agnostic here - I don't avoid soy products such as tofu, but I don't make it a super regular part of my diet, and I personally remain nervous... there are so many food options that I don't feel compelled to take excessive risks. It also is important to note that flaxseed estrogens are not *identical* to soy phytoestrongens, they are analogues - so there is wiggle room; ultimately it's an unknown at present. And, as I said, I do consume 1tbsp of flaxseed daily - or more accurately 5 days a week, with 2 days off. 

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