Have you ever peered inside your refrigerator, taken stock of all the easily visible items and thought, what am I gonna do with that? What did I buy that for?
I had a moment like that earlier this morning. I opened the refrigerator, and scanned it shelf by shelf as I tried to figure out what to make for breakfast. When I took a closer look, my eyes found this:
Allow me to introduce you to flaxseed meal. It’s not something you eat out of the container, and it’s not an ingredient that makes dishes memorable. It is, however, a healthy addition to many foods, and a great mix-in with your morning yogurt (which is exactly how I used it when I made breakfast this morning).
What is it? the result of grinding flaxseeds (brown or golden varieties). You can buy it ground, or buy the seeds and grind them yourself in a coffee grinder.
What’s the big deal? Flaxseed meal is a nutritional powerhouse–it’s full of the good fats and lots of fiber, and while I’m no nutritionist, that stuff is supposed to be good for you.
What do I do with it? If you need more fiber in your diet but don’t like the taste of high-fiber food, you might like this. The flavor is mildly nutty, and totally unobtrusive. Sprinkle a tablespoon on your yogurt, add 1 to 2 tablespoons to soups or sauces (like tomato), or add it to batters or doughs when you bake.*
Where do I find it? Mostly anywhere, and in large supermarkets it’s usually found near the cereals or special diets section. I get mine at Trader Joe’s, which has their own brand, or if not they usually carry this (my preference).
Where do I keep it? In the fridge, in a sealed air-tight container, where it will keep indefinitely and retain it’s nutritional value.
*Sometimes flaxseed meal is called for in recipes, but when it’s not, proceed with caution when you bake. Baking is chemistry, and if you alter the chemistry of a baking recipe, you might ruin it. Or you may just have a happy accident.
***Updated @ 9:20pm: I found a recipe for Banana Bread that uses flaxseed meal (which is extra awesome since I’m stuck with a basket of ripe bananas). I’ve still got some customizing to do, but in the meantime here’s a preview of the ingredients. Recipe to follow this weekend.