Oil 101: Flaxseed

When I was growing up we had one, maybe two, kinds of oil in our pantry. Crisco, or some name brand, purchased because it was the oil equivalent to all-purpose flour. You used it in salad dressings, you used it for fried chicken and fish and chips, you used it for deep-frying doughnuts and for whipping up mayonnaise. Oddly, the chief attribute that this oil possessed was, it was devoid of flavour. Flavour bad!

If you wanted to get really fancy, or wanted your cooking to actually have a flavour influenced by the oil, maybe you had a bottle of something exotic, something like olive oil.


Of course, we have come along way since then. Nowadays there are varieties of cooking oil available from several sources, many with almost specific roles. Oils like peanut oil and corn oil, with little taste and able to withstand high temperatures have traditionally been used for frying and deep frying, while more esoteric oils like almond and sesame oils are best used in salads and dressings.


flax oil and seeds

Lately, flaxseed has been getting a lot of press, as it were, because of its high nutrient value. Highly unsaturated, flaxseed oil, is the food-grade version of linseed oil, cold pressed rather than solvent extracted, and is high in most of the B vitamins, magnesium and manganese, and one of the best sources of Omega-3 , 6 and 9 fatty acids usually found in fish oils. It is known to combat inflammation and prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and arthritis as well as a host of other health benefits.

try flaxseed oil instead of olive oil in your vinaigrettes


It is recommended that you store flaxseed oils in a cool, dark place, like your refrigerator, and because it has a high oxidation rate, should be used within a few weeks.

Flaxseed oil’s nutty and unique taste makes it a great accompaniment to many foods; salads, soups and even drizzled on bread or used on veggies in lieu of butter. It is important to remember that flaxseed oil is not suitable for frying, as high heat will destroy its nutrient value. That doesn’t mean you can’t bake with it as it still adds incredible flavour.


There is much to be found online about the Flaxseed and Cottage Cheese Diet, or Budwig Diet, that is thought to prevent against cancer. You can read more about it on the Livestrong site. While that doesn’t sound too appetizing, this Zucchini-Pecan Flaxseed Bread from Cooking Light does. I make it often and sub in flax oil for the canola that’s called for in the recipe.


My favourite way to use flaxseed oil is in the morning in a smoothie. The oil makes the smoothie very creamy without adding a lot of fat. Here’s the best smoothie recipe that incorporates blueberries and bananas to help you get more fruit and incredible flax in your diet.

Here’s a kale and squash salad that incorporates flaxseed in the vinaigrette, a perfect Super Food Salad to battle the evil March deep freeze that’s happening outside. Here’s another vinaigrette made with blueberries, this is a gorgeous dressing for a Spinach Salad with Bacon and Almonds, so good. Finally, here’s a Chickpea and Kidney Bean Salad with a Lemon-Flax Vinaigrette, healthy and simple to make.

Buy some flaxseed oil today and start experimenting in the kitchen.



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