Yes, you can “fry” with cold-pressed linseed (flax) oil
Some people get very worried about using cold-pressed linseed oil in cooking and this is quite right to do so to a degree. This is how to stir fry healthily with linseed oil. Effectively this method of steam-stock stir fry cooks with water and the linseed oil is added at the end for flavour and an excellent way of getting a good helping of omega-3 for health..
The smoke point of an oil is the temperature it starts to smoke continuously when heated – a jolly nasty and carcinogenic the fumes are. The smoke we see is the partial oxidation of oil molecules and other compounds naturally occurring in unrefined oils such as mucilage, gums, vitamins and colour, Because of these compounds unrefined oils tend to have a lower smoke point. Refined oils have most of these compounds removed and have a higher smoke point. Though there are less unpleasant fumes coming off a refined oil it doesn’t necessarily mean refined oils are a lot healthier for frying. Even if a fat or oil has a high “smoke point” a lot of detrimental chemistry is going on beneath the surface.
Fatty acids and stability
The type of fatty acid molecules in the oil also affect the smoke point and the stability of the oil under the surface. As the oil is heated it tends to react with air and molecules of the oil react with each other to form unwanted compounds. Saturated fats tend to be more stable; the more unsaturated a fat more reactive it is. Linseed oil as an omega-3 fat and is more unsaturated than other oils so we recommend you heat it only gently.
Cold-pressed Linseed Oil
Cold-pressed linseed has a relatively low smoke point but in fact can be held at 150oC for one hour without significant changes and no serious adverse chemistry occurs until around 170oC , However cold-pressed linseed oil is such a precious food, so rich in omega-3 and delicate flavour we don’t recommend using it to fry with. When “frying“ with linseed oil this way the actual temperature of the oil stays under 100oC which is a safe temperature for the oil.
How to sauté or steam/stock stir fry healthily with cold-pressed linseed (flax seed) oil
Stock-steam stir fry: Place enough stock or even just water to cover the bottom of a frying pan over a medium heat. Bring to a strong boil with steam coming off. Then add finely sliced/chopped Either put lid on and occasionally lifting the lid to stir to keep veggies moving in the pan, so they are almost dry after 2-5 minutes. You may need to increase the heat and cook uncovered for a minute or two if you want them drier. Then add a tablespoon of Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed oil per person. This is a very low calorie way to fry.