The question of using flaxseed oil for cooking is often asked and there are a lot of confusing answers out there. I thought I would do an article that would help clear this up for many people. On almost every website and forum that I visited the answer was no. This is actually not true at all.
It is an oil and of course you can use it for cooking but there is an important reason why you shouldn't. The entire purpose of this oil is that when it is made it is made in a fashion which is called "cold pressed."
The reason for doing this is that the oil then contains the one important ingredient that makes this oil special. That ingredients is called Omega 3. When any type of heat is applied to this oil then the Omega 3 starts to break down and so you effectively lose the main benefit of using the oil in the first place.
In summary flaxseed oil is not a cooking oil but it is an oil that can be added to foods after they have been cooked. What is interesting though and important to know is that actual flaxseeds can be used in baking for recipes like breads and muffins. Please not though I am talking about the seeds here and NOT the oil.
Now some people also argue that the oil enhances the flavours of the food. I have for example grilled fish and then added a little flaxseed oil close to the end of the cooking process. I found that it did add a nice taste to the fish and a nice contrast in taste.
Mainly though I use the oil as part of creating a salad dressing. Along with some olive oil, vinegar and mustard it makes a super dressing. I have included the recipe down below if you want to give it a try.
Flaxseed Oil Cooking Uses and Recipes
If you like baking then use the seeds as these will add both great taste and you get the bonus of a good supply of the fatty acid Omega 3. The flaxseeds will give a light nutty taste and I have used in recipes such as Pizza, some breads and I have also made cookies using the seeds. They taste great.
Flaxseed Oil Cooking Recipes
The main flaxseed oil benefits you can get through cooking is by adding this oil to things like a salad dressing. It depends on the definition of cooking and I think it is this that causes the confusion. Cooking for most people means some type of frying, grilling or baking.
Flaxseed oil should not be used for cooking when heat needs to be applied.
Salad Dressing Using Flaxseed Oil
Mix 1/2 cup of flaxseed oil with 1/2 cup of water and then add some lemon juice. Add a couple of tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar, a couple of teaspoons of mustard and a teaspoon of cumin. This one is all about your own personal taste so you may need to tweak the amounts to get the best taste. For the real health concious people you can also add Tamari and nutritional yeast.
A lot of people simply add some oil to their smoothies. Personally I don't like doing that but it works for a lot of people. I watched a BBC documentary a few nights ago where they proved that taking blueberries had a dramatic impact on the overall day to day body performance and increased your actual brain power and activity.
They tested two groups of school goers and gave one a banana based smoothie at lunch time and the other group got a blueberry smoothie. The blueberry group out performed that other group by 11%. This is a big difference and the researchers put that down to the increased use and stamina of the brain thanks to the plain old blueberry.
The video below shows how to make a good blueberry smoothing and incorporate flaxseed oil at the same time. That way you not only get all the benefits of flaxseed oil, but you might also get an extra dose of brain power, if the findings of that documentary are correct. At the end of the day the BBC corporation are pretty careful about the type of research they do. Aside from all of that I also love the taste of blueberries and the one below makes a great drink.
Other Flaxseed Oil Cooking Uses
- You can sprinkle seeds over your breakfast cereal and for me this is the easiest and quickest way of using the seeds.
- I also add it to Garlic and Mayo to make a nice dip.
- Friends of mine add this oil to butter for a nice spread.
- In China flaxseed oil has been used for what is termed low heat stir frying. I am trying to find out more about that but as yet I have not had any luck.
A lot of this is trial and error but I would never use flaxseed oil for high heat cooking. This is because it breaks down and you lose the benefits, which after all is the point in using it in the first place.