Where to store your fresh cold-pressed linseed oil

Linseed Oil UK

Refrigeration not essential for linseed (flax seed) oil

Flax Farm fresh cold-pressed linseed (flaxseed) oil for omega-3
Flax Farm fresh cold-pressed linseed (flaxseed) oil for omega-3

We are often asked about how linseed oil should be stored. While keeping your oil in the fridge or freezer is the best place to store it, there is a bit of mythology about this and you really don’t need to worry if it is left or even kept out of the fridge – keeping it dark is more important.

Oil is different to milk

We are all used to foods like fish and milk which often will go noticeable bad if allowed to warm up for even a short period.  This is because the spoilage of milk, fish and meat is caused by microbes which reproduce exponentially as they warm up so even when you cool the item back down the gazillions of microbes are still in there working away and making it go bad.   Oil is very different and it isn’t affected by microbes but oxidizes naturally, like almost every other substance, some oxidize a bit faster than others.

Simple chemistry of oils

A lot of vegetable oils are made of 18 carbon chain fatty acids. These are a series of oils which while they share many physical characteristics and appear superficially similar behave differently as regards stability.  Saturated fats like cocoa butter and beef dripping are saturated and very stable; monounsaturated fats as found in olive oil are still relatively stable; the polyunsaturated LA, alpha linoleic fatty acid, found in sunflower, corn, rapeseed and other vegetable oils has two double bonds and is less stable; Linseed (flaxseed oil) which  is ALA, alpha linolenic acid, is one step more unsaturated and more unstable (but that’s part of its characteristic that makes it so valuable for our bodies).

Cooler is better but so is convenience

As you can see this is a simple linear series of increasing unsaturation and reduced stability.  The later is reflected in its shelf-life.  When we produce cold-pressed linseed oil we are producing an oil for health so are more concerned about making sure you get the healthiest product.  Just as we don’t refrigerate chocolate or beef dripping, olive oil or even vegetable oils refrigeration is not essential for linseed oil.  However refrigeration is the best place to store your oil. The cooler something is the slower chemical reactions like oxidation happen. In the grand scheme of things the difference between the fridge and ambient, (your kitchen cupboard) is only about 15 degrees centigrade and as temperature goes all the way down to -273oC those 15 degrees is not enormously significant, it’s just better and at the end of the recommended use by period it will be fractionally fresher though we have never been able to detect a difference.   It’s because cooler is a bit better that  coffee roasters recommend you store your fresh coffee in the fridge or freezer; do you though? Most people actually keep their coffee where it’s convenient for use and similarly with their linseed oil.  Even so we will still recommend that you keep your oil in the fridge and unused bottles are best stored in the freezer until needed.

Linseed Oil UK

Supporting the OMS community

We were delighted to be invited to support the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis One Day Summer event by providing each attendee with a sample bottle of our Flax Farm Cold-Pressed Linseed Oil.

OMS connects people with MS, their family and carers with the latest scientific research and advice from the inspirational Professor George Jelinek.

We are getting great feedback in the office about speakers A/Prof. Craig Hassed and chef Jack McNulty who presented ‘Getting to grips with OMS – from Meditation to Food’ the two pillars of the OMS Recovery Program. People especially enjoyed the live cooking demonstration with tips to make food on the OMS diet delicious as well as healthy.  We have our own OMS-friendly, no dairy, no saturated-fat recipes on the Flax Farm website; one of the latest is our dairy-free,
saturated fat-free, sugar-free ice cream which is amazingly delicious and easy to make and contains loads of omega-3 from our lovely cold-pressed linseed (flaxseed) oil – its sooo good!

book omsWe have the latest copy of Professor George Jelinek‘s “Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis, the evidence based 7 step recovery program”,  which for a book with so much science behind it is an easy read.  This fascinating book is both incredibly informative, optimistic and practical in its advice for PwMS.  For those who have been recently diagnosed with MS and didn’t get to the event you may qualify for a free copy from the OMS website.  Reading the book has inspired me to be a bit stricter with my own diet; I am loving the food and quickly feeling the health benefits.

We hope you enjoyed the OMS Summer Event and continue to find the OMS programme beneficial.  If you want any information about using our cold-pressed linseed (flaxseed) oil please feel free to call or email :  01403 268844 or clare@flaxfarm.co.uk

Omega-3 from Flax Farm Cold-Pressed Linseed Oil

Are you getting enough omega-3?

When  you are short of omega-3 lots of parts of the body can be affected.  So if something “just isn’t quite right” or the doctor has suggested “well it’s your age”; shortage of omega-3 could be contributing to the problem.

The UK diet is typically very short of omega-3 this is partly due to omega-3 being a relatively scarce nutrient in nature and modern farming and food production methods further reduce it in the diet.

Balance of Omega-3: Omega-6 is essential

Beneficial ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 shows why Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed oil is anti-inflammatory and can help re-balance the other fats in our diet.
Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed oil shows a beneficial ratio of omega-3 to omega-6

Almost just as important as the amount of omega-3 in the diet is balance of omega-3 to omega-6.  We need somewhere around one part of omega-3 to every 1 to 4 parts of omega 6 for a healthy diet.

If we get too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 too many inflammatory hormones are produced.  Since the imbalance of omega-6 comes comes into our diets from cereals, most vegetable oils and farmed animals especially pork, chicken and eggs excess omega-6 builds up in our bodies. The increase in omega-6 can then increase inflammation.

Flax Farm Cold-Pressed Linseed Oil

Flax Farm cold pressed linseed (flax seed) oil is almost 50% omega-3 and a great way to top up your omega-3 levels. Because it is so rich in omega-3 you only need a little added to food to provide an omega-3 intake comparable to eating large helping of fish every day.

Vegetarian or Vegan?

Vegetarians and vegans need to proactively work at getting omega-3 into their diets. Most of our linseed products and especially the oil are an excellent way to ensure you have a healthy intake of these essential fatty acid.

Flax Farm Cold-Pressed Fresh Food & a Sustainable Source of Omega-3

There are always concerns about food from the sea with increasing levels of pollutants in the oceans and of course over-fishing destroying the food chain of the marine ecosystem. Linseed is a sustainable source of omega-3, grown on UK soils, it is an environmentally friendly crop with few food miles.

Olive oil vs flax oil

Flax Farm fresh cold-pressed linseed (flaxseed) oil for omega-3

Q: Isn’t olive oil as healthy as linseed (flax) oil?

A: Olive oil isn’t a good source of omega-3

Extra virgin olive oil is a good traditional food, rich in poly-phenols and antioxidants.  Its fatty acid profile is mainly omega-9, a significant amount of omega-6, and very little or no omega-3.

Linseed (flax) oil a good source of omega-3

Beneficial ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 shows why Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed oil is anti-inflammatory and can help re-balance the other fats in our diet.
Beneficial ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 shows why Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed oil is anti-inflammatory and can help re-balance the other fats in our diet.

Linseed oil is mainly omega-3 which is the essential fat most of us  need more of.  Adding linseed oil to your diet is an easy way to improve your omega-3 levels.

 

Linseed oil a good balance of omega-3 : omega-6

Balance of omega-3 to omega-6 is important.  No matter how much olive oil you consume it won’t contribute to a healthy omega-3 : omega-6 balance.

Because linseed oil contains far more omega-3 than omega-6 you don’t need very much of it to re-balance your diet.

Try adding Flax Farm linseed oil to olive oil in equal quantities to give you a good balance of omega-3 and 6.

Linolenic acid, Linoleic acid, Oleic acid,

Omega-3, 6 and 9 are the fatty acids most commonly spoken of. Omega-3 and 6 are essential, your body can’t make them. However your body makes Omega-9, oleic acid from other foods when needed; so omega-9 isn’t called essential.

Flax: is Refrigeration essential?

Is refrigeration essential for flax oil

Q: Is Refrigeration for linseed (flaxseed) oil essential?

A: No Linseed does not have to be kept in the fridge

We believe we supply the best cold-pressed linseed oil ( otherwise known as flaxseed oil) in the UK; we make and bottle the oil by cold-pressing the seeds using the coolest, gentlest methods.  It is designed to be used fresh as a fresh food and is not intended for long storage.  We send it out absolutely fresh, within a few days of pressing.   We recommend that the oil we send out is consumed quickly as a fresh oil to enjoy it’s flavour and nutritional benefits at their best.  Like all produce linseed (flax) does deteriorate over time. However as oil is very different to meat, milk or vegetables  and we are not trying to control spoilage by bacteria or moulds refrigeration has less significance to ensuring the freshness and quality of oil.

Flax Farm fresh cold-pressed linseed (flaxseed) oil for omega-3
Flax Farm fresh cold-pressed linseed (flaxseed) oil for omega-3

Linseed oil, as food and therapeutic oil, has been pressed on small presses for centuries and likes to be produced on a small scale in a traditional way, a bit like home cooking – just as food like omelettes are much better when made at home than mass-produced in industrial kitchens and your granny’s sponge cakes we great on the weekend they cooked but went stale after that – next time you are in a supermarket check-out all the weird ingredients that go into long life packaged cakes and taste them; nothing like my granny’s cakes!

When linseed/ flax oil is produced on a larger scale in a more industrial way, usually with  higher temperatures, higher pressures and more machine/chemical processes are involved.   Linseed doesn’t respond well to this sort of treatment and it often makes it start to go rancid and bitter at the point of manufacture, this then goes off like dominoes toppling and the rancidity gets worse and the oil more bitter;  refrigerating the oil helps slow this effect down a little – but it is a bit like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted when oil is rancid to start with.  It is of significance as many of the mass-produced linseed/flax oils are expected to be in shops for many months, even up to two years, refrigeration means it gets worse slower!  It doesn’t make up for it not being fresh, Flax Farm linseed oil uses varieties of linseed that make nice tasting linseed oil, it is then supplied fresh and used fresh – we like it to be used within 2.5 months of opening or 4 months of pressing. Even at the end of this time Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed oil still tastes great.  Good Linseed (flax seed) oil should be mild, creamy, nutty, grassy, I.e. characteristically taste of linseed (flaxseed), with no off or rancid butter notes.  Linseed (flax seed) Oil should not be bitter or smell strongly.

Cold-pressed linseed/flax oil is very different to milk

Storage of oils like linseed /flax seed oil is very different to something like milk.  Milk goes “off” due to enzyme activity because of microbes getting into it and multiplying. Keeping it below 4 degrees centigrade helps to stop the dangerous ones establishing themselves as and once warmed for a short while the population of microbes is becomes huge and the milk then starts to go off very quickly, it can even go “off” in less than one day .

However linseed/flaxseed oil is completely different; this is nothing to do with microbes.  Linseed oil/flax seed oil is very rich in omega-3, this is a delicate and reactive molecule which is why it is so good for us (it means the body’s systems can link it easily to other nutrient molecules to make it into body components like cell membranes and hormones) unfortunately it also means it can oxidise if not properly cared for.  Oxidation is slowed down by cooler temperatures but as the difference between ambient temperature and refrigeration temperature is only 16 degrees this isn’t very significant (as temperature of all things starts from minus 273o Celsius and goes up to many thousands of degrees) so even as much as a few weeks at ambient temperature doesn’t really have much effect on the oil; it simply shortens the time it takes to lose its optimum freshness by, at the most, no more than a few days.   Which is why it is not critical to keep it refrigerated and it doesn’t spoil the quality.  It continues to be nice and just as good for you as linseed oil has ever been – and bear in mind linseed oil has been used as a “health food” for thousands of years before refrigeration was available.   This means that the few days between pressing and receipt of the oil makes effectively no difference to the flavour, quality or effectiveness of the oil.

Properly produced Linseed oil is actually far m heat stable than it is given credit for.  We have tested it extensively.   However it is very sensitive to strong light. Left in strong sunlight linseed oil (flax seed oil) can go rancid and bitter in less than an hour. So always avoid it being left in direct light store it in the dark.

We have many enthusiastic users of the oil who never put it in the fridge, they consume it fresh  and it remains fresh lovely and with all its health benefits.

The fridge is the best place to store linseed

However, just as the fridge or freezer is the best place for freshly ground coffee the low temperature keeps opened linseed (flax) oil a bit fresher for a bit longer. We also recommend if you are buying in bulk you store in the freezer  as the best place to store your linseed oil.   Being that freezers and fridges are dark this is an additional benefit to keeping linseed, oil or ground linseed fresh.

If you don’t have room in your fridge or freezer to store your the oil, don’t worry as long as you consume it bore the best before date it will be fine.

The Flax Council of Canada is really the World authority on flax (linseed) and their primer  is an excellent source of information for all things flax/linseed.   Go to the Flax Council Primer, appendix B for information on storage and heat-stability 

 

Black-gold Turmeric and Linseed Tea Recipe

Black-gold anti-inflammatory turmeric and linseed drink

 

Recipe: Black-gold Turmeric Anti-inflammatory Drink

Turmeric is a famous anti-inflammatory spice, this drink has the addition of other super-healthy ingredients to make my favorite hot drink. It’s caffeine-free and absolutely delicious.

Ingredients

  • A good 1/2 -1 tsp ground turmeric
  • A generous tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 mugful boiling water
  • 1 tsp organic blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2-3 tsp coconut cream or 3 dessertspoons coconut, rice or soya milk
  • 1-2 tsp Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed (flaxseed) oil

Instructions

  1. Place ginger, pepper and turmeric in a saucepan, and bring to the boil.
  2. Leave to simmer for 3 minutes
  3. Add honey, molasses and coconut cream or milk and linseed oil,
  4. Pour through fine strainer into mug
  5. Stir well and enjoy.

 

 

Traditional flax production for linen

Traditional implements for linen production on display in Booth Pinezhsky Museum.

Prior to industrialisation even small farmers grew flax to produce linen for their own needs from home grown flax. In the UK and other Northern Europe countries linen was the only widely available alternative to wool until cotton became available. The flax used for linen production usually comes from slightly different varieties of the species of Linum usitatissimum than linseed or flax for human consumption. It is also harvested differently.

Tools for making flax, processed flax stalks and linen
Tools for making flax, processed flax stalks and linen

Flax and traditional linen production: ancient Russian instruments and the materials they were used on in the traditional production of linen from flax plants and their fibre.(Booth Pinezhsky Museum). 1-beater, 2-fiber after scutching Llano, Llano 3-fiber tow after the first 4-Llano after the second fiber tow, tow 5, 6 -Taylor (canvas threads from Llano), 7 – row (from hemp canvas threads), 8, 9 – Brushes for Sanchez flax and hemp, 10-comb for cleaning flax and hemp, 12, abusive pattern. Photo 3 November 2006. Photo by Schekinov Alexey Victorovich November 3 2006

The simple equipment was typically homemade and everything from growing to harvesting, scutching to spinning and weaving was carried out by the family.

Flax fibres before processing into linen. In the foreground a broken stem shows the fine linen fibres beginning to separate out.
Flax fibres before processing into linen. In the foreground a broken stem shows the fine linen fibres beginning to separate out.

Traditional flax growing and linen production is written about and illustrated in “How a Shirt Grew in the Field”, a children’s book, originally in Russian.

 

Linseed health food for animals too

Front pf a Victorian postcard promoting the health benefits of feeding linseed cake to beef, horses and other animals.

Linseed: food for health and beauty

Linseed in recent times is beginning to be understood as an amazing health food for people. Doctors and researchers are constantly making new discoveries about how it helps people with health and beauty.  From healthier immune system, to combating dry eyes, better cardio health, fertility, supple joints to strong nails and shining hair scientists are beginning to understand the extent of linseed’s health benefits.

Farmers knew the benefits of linseed before doctors

150 years ago farmers were in no doubt about the benefits if linseed. They were responsible for the livestock which would often number in the hundreds so it didn’t take them long to notice the health benefits of feeding linseed Continue reading

Linseed poultice

Field of ripe linseed and seedheads

A traditional remedy

As long ago as the seventeenth century, herbal and linseed formentations and cataplasms (poultices) were recommended by the great English herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper for the treatment of abscesses, tumours and inflammation.

The Royal Army Medical Corps is nicknamed the Linseed Lancers
The Royal Army Medical Corps is nicknamed the Linseed Lancers

The Linseed Lancers

In the first world war the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) became known as the Linseed Lancers because linseed poultices.were often the only treatment they had to offer their patients during the Boer war and WW1 1914-1918.

CBD: Cannabidiol in linseed

In recent studies cannabidiol has been found in linseed fibre, It is an active ingredient with anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, which must have seriously contributed to the efficacy of linseed poultices.

To make a linseed poultice

For inflammation such as bruises, strains, cysts, bursitis, boils, ulcers, and skin conditions.

To 1 cup ground linseed (or coarse ground linseed flour) add 1 cup hot water from a kettle. Mix to make a past and allow to stand somewhere warm for ten minutes.

Spread the paste onto the middle of a suitably sized linen (or cotton) cloth, cover with linen, muslin or similar fine fabric.

Wipe the affected area with cold-pressed linseed oil to make it easy to clean.

Then apply warm poultice to affected area, with muslin next to the skin, bandage with piece of folded towelling and hold in place with tape, safety pins and/or bandage. It should be firm but not tight.

Suitable for adults, children and animals

A gentle, chemical-free treatment that can be used for the whole family and pets too.