beverages, lessons learned, settlement cookbook

Flaxseed tea

There can be hidden gems in old cookbooks. Like last week’s kuchen tarts, or the Little House apple turnovers, or the Old Virginia pancakes. Come to think of it, those hidden gems all have to do with baking or flour-based deliciousness.

Anyway. Sometimes there are successes. And sometimes there are failures. And sometimes there are just plain weird recipes.

Flaxseed tea is just such a recipe. It sounds promising, like the kind of tea brewed from garden leftovers that Marilla might have served to Anne out at Green Gables. Unfortunately, the properties of the flax seed make it into an entirely different beverage than you’d expect.

Here are the basics:

  • After washing 1 tbsp of flax seed (I just so happened to have some lying around…that’s how I know I’m turning into a health-conscious cook), mix it with 1 cup cold water.
  • Simmer the mixture on low heat for an hour.
  • Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and sugar to taste (Mrs. Kander recommends 1 tbsp, but that’s a lot. I didn’t add any).

In simmering the tea for an hour, I discovered one of the basic properties of the flax seed: it is mucilaginous, which means that when it’s blended with liquid, it becomes gelatinous. Like egg whites, for example. (I should have remembered this from the time I used my handy ground flax seed as a substitute for egg in a brownie recipe.)

This so-called “tea” thus becomes a thick, jelly-like substance. Once mixed with lemon juice, it tastes and feels like…well…lemon-flavored egg whites.

While I appreciated the nutritious aspects of the flax seed, I couldn’t really get over the texture. This isn’t one to try at home, folks. (Your home, really, since my home has been serving as a test kitchen for the bizarre for over a year.) I wish that I always had an open mind when it comes to unusual recipes, flavors, and textures, but alas: mucilage is one thing I don’t want to learn to like.


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