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How to Know When Flax Is Rancid

by
author image Sommer Leigh
Sommer Leigh has produced home, garden, family and health content since 1997 for such nationally known publications as "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Midwest Living," "Healthy Kids" and "American Baby." Leigh also owns a Web-consulting business and writes for several Internet publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in information technology and Web management from the University of Phoenix.
How to Know When Flax Is Rancid
A small scoopful of flax seed. Photo Credit YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images

Since flax is extra high in omega-3 fatty acids, it's known as beneficial to lowering LDL cholesterol levels, may boost immunity and as a dietary supplement can reduce dry skin and eczema breakouts. Most healthy oils, including the essential fatty oils found in flax, have a short shelf life. When flax goes bad, it's called "rancid." Rancid flax is not appetizing, and you should easily know when it goes rancid, but a few indicators can help you determine if the flax is past the point of being edible.

Step 1

Pay attention to the "best by date" often marked on the flax container. Whole flax lasts up to seven years, ground flax lasts up to two years and flax oil lasts about one month.

Step 2

Smell the flax. It should have a mild smell. If flax smells like fish or has an otherwise strong odor, it is rancid.

Step 3

Taste a small amount of the flax. It should have a mild, nutty flavor. If the flax tastes bitter, sour or otherwise unappealing, it is rancid.

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