When buying flaxseed meal, it is important to consider how long the meal has been sitting on a store shelf, the type of bag that the meal is packaged in, whether or not the meal has been refrigerated, and whether a bag has been vacuum sealed. All of these things contribute to flaxseed meal that is nutritious, tasty, and fresh.
As with most natural products, it is best to purchase flaxseed meal in person. Even though this type of meal can be purchased online, it is difficult to determine how long a product has been sitting on a shelf when buying through the Internet. When visiting a store, ask about the product that you are considering. Find out when the product arrived, when it was packaged, and take a look around the store to see whether or not the store has many customers.
The type of bag that meal is stored in is also important. Flaxseed meal bags should be opaque in order to keep sunlight from filtering into a bag. Typically, it is best to avoid large bins filled with meal, since these bins tend to be translucent. Instead, search for smaller packages that are vacuum sealed.
Flaxseed meal should also be stored inside of a refrigerated case, though many stores do not have the space to store meal in this manner. If you can't find a store that shelves meal inside of a refrigerator, make sure you refrigerate, or freeze, your meal as soon as you arrive at your home. Keeping meal cool and dry is the best way to prolong shelf life.
In no manner should flaxseed meal be bitter or smell rancid. By tasting and smelling a product, you should be able to determine whether or not meal is still fresh. If it is not possible to determine how long meal has been sitting on a store shelf, it is best to purchase whole flaxseeds. Whole seeds can be ground as you need them, and this method will ensure that your flaxseed meal does not spoil.
Whole flaxseeds do not have the same benefits as ground flaxseed, which is why this type of meal is immensely popular. Should you decide to purchase whole seeds, you can easily grind them with a coffee grinder or blender. When purchased and stored properly, flaxseeds can last for a couple of months — just remember to throw out any seeds that have become rancid.