Q: What is the difference between gold and bronze linseed (flax)?
A:The original variety of linseed (and it was called linseed before it was called flax) was a brown-bronze coloured seed. Since then many other varies have been developed including gold and most shades in between. There is a lot of mythology surrounding the colour of linseed brought about by misinformation we are going to clear up the myths surrounding linseed (flax). The colour of linseed is nothing to do with them being de-hulled or toasted as some people think; it’s just the way they grow. Just like you can get green apples and red apples they are good for you.
Gold & bronze linseed are better ground
Both are better for you when they are ground because it makes the nutrients more available and effective. Ground linseed produces a better structure going through the digestive tract and is more favourable to healthy gut biome (good bacteria).
Is gold linseed better for you?
Gold linseed tends to carry a premium and cost more. This is mainly because there is less of it grown and some people prefer its looks. However the colour of linseeds has no bearing on nutritional benefit and neither is more digestible than the other. All normal varieties of linseed or flax have similar nutritional properties.
A slight difference in flavour
The bronze linseed usually has a slightly nuttier, characteristically linseedy flavour and is great in porridge or muesli; the gold is usually a little more delicately flavoured and with it’s lighter colour it is more versatile for adding into soup, fruit and drinks. The gold is good to use if you need to disguise it to get children or other fussy eaters to consume it.
Flax without omega-3?
Some of the mythology about one colour of linseed being better for you than others came about because some varieties, including one called Linola were bred to be low ALA and have virtually no omega-3. These low omega-3 varieties come in both gold and brown and can’t be identified by colour. Some linseed grown in other countries is of the omega-3 type but sold as ordinary linseed or flax. The only way to be sure you have proper linseed (flax) is to buy from reliable producers. When linseed is grown it is like any other crop, one grows known varieties to ensure nutritional and culinary properties.
Watch out for GMO Triffids!
The Canadian linseed stock was contaminated with GM, genetically modified, flaxseed from a variety of linseed called Triffid. The contaminant was named after the man-eating plants in John Whyndham’s 1951 novel, “The Day of the Triffids” !!!
Since then the Canadian flax industry has been working to get rid of genetically modified contamination. It is thought that some of the contaminated flax/linseed has got into the stock in other countries but not the UK. Flax Farm linseed (flax) is completely GMO free.
The linseed flowers come in two colours too!
Linseed normally has blue flowers but some varieties come with white flowers as in the photo below. Again, it has no whatsoever bearing on the nutritional or any other quality of the seed or fibre.