The shelf life of flax seeds can be a concern for anyone looking to keep and store this super food. The nutty flavor of fresh flaxseed make it a popular addition to a variety of meals, and fresh flaxseed oil is a common cooking oil for those on a gluten free diet.
Does flaxseed go bad? Absolutely yes! Ground flax seeds will not last as long as whole seeds, but either flaxseed product will eventually begin to produce unpleasant tastes. Storing the ground flaxseed (aka flaxseed meal) correctly as well as whole flax seeds is important, or else you may end up with rancid flaxseeds.
Flax meal, or ground flaxseed, will keep for much less time than whole seeds. So, unless you plan on using flaxseed meal relatively soon, don’t throw your whole seeds into your coffee grinder. Otherwise you may end up finding a bitter taste from spoiled flaxseed in your next recipe.
While the life of ground flax is shorter, there are ways to extend it. Like most spoiled foods, proper storage and a proper food storage container can go a long way to extendeing the life of your flax seeds and delaying the degradation process.
What is Flaxseed?
A blue flowered perennial plant grown to be used as a fiber, flax plant crops have a long history in textiles. However, modernly flax seeds are an amazing superfood and among the most beficial superfoods in the world. Especially in Western diets.
As they are filled with omega 3 fatty acid (otherwise only obtainable through fish and fish oils), flax seeds can help you avoid a fishy smell and taste. In addition, this makes them an ideal option for plant based diets, and avoids spoiled fish oil.
Seeds are extracted when a flax blooms, but rancid flax can occur in nature if pieces of the plant separate too early. These super seeds can also be used to make flaxseed oil, much like canola oil being developed from canola flowers.
Rancid flaxseed oil emits an off putting sour odor, far worse than the bitter flavor or rancid ground seeds. So while you can enjoy the fatty acids contained within, do it in a timely manner. Especially if you plan on keeping ground flax seeds.
How to Store Flaxseed
Ground flax seeds and whole seeds keep much the same. An airtight container, stored in a cool and dry place. You will want to avoid excessive heat, moisture, oxygen exposure, else you may find yourself with bad seeds or rancid flaxseed oil.
Leaving seeds on your kitchen counter or by a window can lead to premature germination, which will make the seeds hard to eat. Ground flax seeds won’t germinate, but unless stored in dark containers it can start the decay process quickly.
One storage option is your pantry, but this will keep for a shorter period than other avilable spaces. You fridge can keep your seeds cool and dry, but your freezer will also work well. Frozen seeds can last you 1-2 years, unless ground in which it will last three months at most.
How Long Does Flaxseed Keep?
Most commercially purchased flaxseeds will come with a best by date. However, a best by date is not an expiration date. Instead, you can continue to enjoy whole seeds or their ground form after the date has passed, but you will have to be wary of signs of rotting.
Signs Your Flaxseed has Gone bad
Fresh flaxseed tastes less bitter and has a nutty taste. However, you don’t need to know flaxseed basics to know the presence of mold is an indication your seeds have gone bad. Mold growth is common on food products that are well beyond their use.
Why Keep Flaxseed?
On top of the rich omega 3 sources found in the seeds, flaxseed meal can be a rich source of fiber. Fibrous stalks were originally used as material for clothing, but now flax seeds as better known for plant based oils, alongside coconut oil.
These healthy seeds are also good for heart health. Antioxidants in flaxseed ensure proper circulation, so unless your flaxseed tastes bitter it should be safe to consume as a salad dressing or garnish.
Flax seeds are very vesatile as well, whether its as a vegan egg substitute or in a bread recipe. Zucchini muffins with flax meal can also ease digestive discomfort, even if the life of ground flaxseed isn’t particularly long.
Flax oil is a gluten free and plant based oil, making it ideal for a variety of allergens. Excellent food like this is hard to find, and the healthy nutritious foods aspects only add to the quality of fresh ground flax. It is a great food for nutrition.
Food growers may also be interested in growing flax for their seeds. Delicate omega 3 fatty acids, anti inflammatory fatty acids, only dump your flax seeds if they have a funny smell. Otherwise you could be missing out on dietary fibers vital for your bowel.