What is the difference between Linseed and Flax?
There is no real difference between 'Linseed' and 'Flax', they are both common names for the plant with the latin name, Linum usitatissimum.
The plant, Linum usitatissimum, is usually found in the cooler, temperate areas of the globe and has been grown for ten's of thousands of years with a multitude of uses;
Most frequently known as Flax, the fibre is extracted from the stem of the plant. Flax fibre is relatively soft and has been used for the production of linen and lace. It is considerably stronger than cotton and coarser grades have appeared in the manufacture of ropes and canvas. Flax fibres have also appeared as a raw material ion the manufacture of specialist papers (ref Dillon), including Banknotes (ref. NBU) and even tea bags!
Most frequently known as Linseed Oil, the oil is crushed or pressed from the seed of the plant. Linsed oil is used for both industry and for food. In industry the oil has the special characteristic of drying to a polymer, making it useful in the treatment of wood as a varnish, wehere its most famous applcation is the treatment of cricket bats (ref. Viking Cricket). Other industrial uses include the manufacture of the floor covering, Linoleum, which exploits the drying properties of linseed oil. Made from natural raw materials, proper Linoleum (as opposed to the PVC based products that are often incorrectly called 'Lino') is probably one the worlds most sustainable hard wearing floor coverings.
Both the oil and the seeds of the plant are edible. The seeds are a source of Fibre and the oil contains a high level of Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA), which is an Omega-3 fatty acid. To differentiate the edible product from the industrial version, linseed oil is usually called 'Flaxseed oil' when it is sold for food use; it appears in many healthfood stores as a high Omega-3 food supplement. Whole seeds often appear in the ingredients of cereal based snack bars and confectionery, where both the brown and yellow (or Golden) coloured seeds are used.
And, of course, whether you call it ground flaxseed or ground linseed it is available to use at home as Linette®
How do I use Linette® linseed flour?
Linette can be included as 5% to 10% of the flour in recepies for breads, pastries, quiches, etc. or why not just sprinkle it into yoghurts or over cheeses, salads and even raw vegetables?
Or why not try one of our Recipes
The aim is to use around 10g (two tablespoons) of Linette per day.
What is the Nutritional Value of the Wheat in Linette® ?
Linette contains 'soft' wheat flour. As a cereal wheat contains 65.8% carbohydrates, of which 2.4% are total sugars. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy used by the body. They are broken down into glucose which is mainly used to:
- Provide Energy to the body, especially the brain
- Store as glycogen as energy reserves in the liver and in the muscles
- Be converted into amino acids, fats and other carbohydrates
In addition, wheat is rich in dietary fibre (9.6%) that plays an important role in intestinal transit. They increase the feeling of satiety and thus allow us to eat less. Thanks to their water retention capacity they sitmulate the contractions of the intestine and promote bacterial activity
Why not make a flour that is 100% linseed?
The special Thermo-extrusion process used to prepare the linseed seeds for Linette® releases the fats (including Omega-3) from the grain. Once they are released these fats need to be stabilised in a flour. Wheat (and Buckwheat) flour act like blotting paper to soak up these linseed fats creating a product that is stable and can be used more easily.
How do we preserve linseed flour?
Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally very sensitive to oxidation (degradation of the fatty acids causing a ransid taste). The Thermo-extrusion process goes some way towards stabilising these fats. The addition of natural extract of rosemary acts on those pro-oxidant molecules that remain after the process. This natural extract protects the fats that the linseed flour contains.
The combination of both of these processes in a controlled atmosphere means that Linette® has a guaranteed shelf life of 9 months.
Furthermore, the resealable ZIP bag allows the product to be stored for 2 months after opening in a cool, dry place and away from light.
Why cant I just grind linseed into a flour at home?
When you grind linseed it only partially breaks the 'envelope' that contains the valueable fatty acids (i.e. only 40% of the omega-3 is digestible in a crushed linseed seed).
Linette® is produced using a patented thermo-extrusion process. This process involves several steps;
- Detoxification - destoys any cyanogenic factors
- Stabilisation - of the pro-oxidant molecules to preserve the fats
- Releasing the fats - by an extrusion process that makes 90% of the Omega-3 bioavailable
The advantages of Linette® compared to ground linseed seed are therefore;
- Toxin free
- Higher Omega-3 availability
- Protection from degradation in store
What is Omega-3?
Omega-3's (formerly called vitamin F) are essential fatty acids required for the proper functioning of the body. They are involved in many regulatory functions and play a vital role in the prevention of 'lifestyle' related diseases (e.g. Diabetes, Cancer, Cholesterol, Cardiovascular disease, etc.) .
They are known as 'Essential' because the body cannot manufacture them directly, so we have to consume them as part of our diet e.g. they are 'essential' in the diet.
The diet in many developed countries regularly lacks sufficient Omega-3 (e.g. French nutritionists have identified that their daily diet contains just one third of the recommended rate of Omega-3; which has been identifed as 2.2g per day.).