The bare bones of the plants we eat


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Scientific name – Linum usitatissimum

Two common varieties of linseed, widely available in health-food shops and although nutritionally similar, the golden seed is now the more popular edible variety because of its milder and nuttier flavour.

The golden seed also known as flaxseed is a rich source of polyunsaturated fat, including the essential fatty acid, linoleic acid. Linseeds can be mixed with breakfast cereals, added to bread dough or sprinkled over salads. The seeds are best kept refrigerated since they can become rancid quite easily in warm conditions. Oil pressed from the seeds has a wide variety of uses. The oil is used as a medium or carrier in paint, as a wood treatment to preserve and enhance the grain and in the manufacture of varnishes and of linoleum. Everything from cricket bats to musical instruments are treated with linseed oil to protect the finish of the wood.