Can You Use a Coffee Grinder on Flax Seeds?

Written by susan lundman
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Can You Use a Coffee Grinder on Flax Seeds?
Coffee grinders do double duty in grinding flaxseeds. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Flaxseed illustrates the old adage that good things come in small packages. It's high in a number of essential nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids and phytochemicals, both of which contain anti-cancer properties. The high fibre content of flaxseed helps with digestion and can reduce constipation. Moreover, flaxseed is high in potassium and has a subtle, nutty flavour that makes it a versatile ingredient in cooking. Grinding flaxseed in a coffee grinder is an excellent way to gain its benefits.

Reasons for Grinding

While flaxseed oil contains the same nutrients as flaxseed itself, it is more expensive than seed and does not have the healthful fibre of seed. Flaxseed is relatively inexpensive and buying it in the bulk section of your grocery reduces its cost even more. Grinding flaxseed allows your body to digest it more thoroughly than whole flaxseed, which simply passes through your digestive system.

How to Grind

Unless you would like a hint of coffee in your flaxseed recipes, clean your grinder thoroughly before grinding. Some people buy a second grinder just for seeds and nuts. Jack Carter, professor emeritus at North Dakota State University recommends a Braun model coffee grinder, but you can experiment with any model to break up the flaxseed. Simply grind or pulse for 30 to 45 seconds. Because flaxseed has fatty acids, it can become rancid if you don't use it within a few weeks. Store it in the freezer or the refrigerator to extend its freshness.

Cleaning Your Coffee Grinder

Clean your coffee grinder after grinding the seeds to avoid getting flaxseed flakes in your next batch of coffee. Add 1/4 cup of white rice or one slice of bread to the grinder and pulse or grind for 30 seconds. The bits of bread or rice will scour the grinder and release the bits of flaxseed. Wipe out any residue with a paper towel or a damp dish towel.

Using Ground Flaxseed

Just 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed provides 1.6g of omega-3 fatty acids, which is the recommended amount established by the Institute of Medicine. Add that tablespoon to your breakfast cereal, to a carton of yoghurt or into any type of flour product, such as pancakes and waffles, cookies, muffins and breads.

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