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Jun 26, 2011 05:14 AM

the shelf life of flax seeds

are flax seeds good indefinitely?? I am talking the actual seeds-- not flax oil or the seeds after grinding. the original raw seeds.

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  1. I keep all seeds - sunflower, pine nuts, etc., in a glass jar in the freezer. Never have a problem.

    1. whole flax seeds will keep for a very long time, years by some reports. I would think that keeping them in a cool, dry place is best. We keep them in the barn & have no problems despite temperature extremes. The ground seeds do go rancid quickly, so we grind just before feeding to the horses (much cheaper than buying ground, stabilized flax).

      1. Your nose knows. Any seed high in oil, like flax, can go rancid. We don't have air conditioning so in the summer, I try to remember to put my whole wheat flour, nuts, flax seed, and oatmeal in the freezer. If I don't they are all nasty by September.

        If the seeds smell off or funny to you, they've probably seen better days. Flax starts to smell fishy to me when it's too old.

        1. indefinitely? no. *theoretically* they could hold up for several years, but only if they've been stored/handled properly, and the problem is that you probably have no idea what they may have been subjected to before you bought them. but assuming they haven't been exposed to extreme heat or light sources, they'll keep in a cool, dark, dry place for a year or so, and even longer in the freezer.

          1. I keep mine in the freezer. They are fairly expensive, at least the golden ones are, and I don't want them to go rancid before i use them up.

            3 Replies
            1. re: sueatmo

              how much you pay, sue? $1.99/pound here for organic golden flax in bulk bins.

              1. re: Val

                I don't buy stuff from the bulk bins. Too many times it doesn't seem fresh to me. I buy Bob's Red Mill, and it isn't prohibitively expensive. (Sorry I can't exactly recall.) But I don't use it quickly enough to take a chance on it going rancid.

                1. re: sueatmo

                  We buy Bob's Red Mill Golden Flax. I keep it in the pantry maybe up to 2+ months before grinding out a cup or two. After grinding it's divided up into individual daily servings (with other ingredients) and kept in small individual containers in the fridge. What's left of the whole flax remains the in the original packaging for maybe a month.