Flax Seeds Two Ways

April 9, 2012

What do vegetable fritters and hair gel have in common? In our house- flax seeds!

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We received a delicious box from Valley Green Feast on Friday full of beautiful produce, some locally milled and grown flour and Massachusetts cranberries. We’ve reached a tough point in the year for local foodies, spring hasn’t quite sprung and winter storage crops are running low. However, our box was full of some regional items, including a few summer squashes and some parsley. I had heard of squash fritters but never made them myself, convinced they needed to be half vegetable half egg in order to successfully bind together. A post over at My Garden Grows changed my mind with the brilliant use of ground flax seeds as the binding agent.

We used VGF parsley, squash and flour, and frozen peppers and corn from last summer. The fritters were fried up in coconut oil and were incredibly fresh and crisp tasting, making me look forward to spring and summer crops rolling in!

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Any vegan baker worth her salt knows the unbelievable gelling capabilities of those innocent little flax seeds. Not only do they work to bind fritters, they make a delicious addition to any dessert in need of an egg that won’t suffer from their slightly nutty, health-food taste. And, amazingly, flax seed gel makes a fantastic hair gel. I have been transitioning from using store-bought personal and cleaning supplies since last summer and have thus far ticked shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and toothpaste off my list. Laundry detergent and hand soap are up next.

Until recently, however, I was using apple cider vinegar to clean my hair, but relying on a bizarre, bright blue, store-bought hair gel to keep everything in place. I ran across flax seed hair gel when reading up on Diy Natural about homemade hairspray. My hair ranges from relatively curly on a good day to moderately wavy every other day, and is known to frizz in even the slightest humidity. The homemade hairspray recipe in the DIY Natural database didn’t quite pack the staying power I need from my hair products, but a reviewer left a comment referencing flax seed hair gel. My curiosity got the best of me, and I found a multitude of recipes using everything from pantyhose to cheesecloth, tea balls and sieves to separate the flax seeds from their gel.

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I’ve made this gel a few times now, following different instructions each time trying to determine which would work best for me. Here’s my current method, although I’m sure it will change slightly each time I make it. Let me know if you find a simpler or more effective way to make this product!

Homemade Flax Seed Hair Gel

You Will Need:
-1/4 c. flax seeds
-1.5 cups water
-small jar to hold gel
-fine mesh sieve
-bowl your sieve can sit in without touching the bottom (see set up above)
-small sauce pan to boil water in

Happy hair and happy spring.

Step 1.Combine water and flax seeds in a pan on medium high heat, bring to a boil.
Step 2. Let simmer and occasionally stir, 3-5 minutes. Be watching for the water to get slightly thicker, a slight white foam to appear on the surface and for the flax seeds to look like they’re suspended rather than sinking to the bottom or floating on top. While simmering place sieve over bowl so that when you pour in flax seed mixture anything that falls through the sieve will land in the bowl not on your counter. Cleaning up hardened gel from a counter or table can be a pain!
Step 3. Remove from the heat and immediately pour into your sieve (placed over the small bowl!). Let sit a minute, then stir with spoon and allow to sit 5-10 minutes until most of the gel has fallen through the sieve. You won’t be able to get every drop, as it thickens as it cools and will stick to the flax seeds pretty darn well. Once the gel is cool transfer from the bowl into a small jar.

I read on a few sites that you can add aloe vera gel equal to half the volume of the gel you made in order to preserve the gel a bit longer. As is, it will last about 2-3 weeks in the fridge. If you haven’t used up all of the gel you’ll be able to tell when it starts to go bad. Instead of a pleasant, nutty smell it will take on a slightly sour smell. It won’t hurt you or make your hair smell, so if you realize too late that it’s old, go ahead and just remember to make more at your earliest convenience! If this recipe makes way more or way less than you use, tweak the proportions until you find an appropriate amount for yourself.

I admit it can be a little strange to put a cold product in your hair after showering. I’m trying to get into the habit of pulling it out of the fridge before I shower so that, by the time I’m done, it has reached room temperature. Use it as you would any other gel product, using maybe 1.5 times the amount used of a store bought product.

My favorite things about this gel?
NO crunchy curls or looking like I just showered all day. Instead, scrunching with this stuff hydrates and softens my curls.
NO drying my hair out. Most store bought gels have some sort of alcohol in them which dries my hair out and makes it frizz even more than before.
NO chemicals, just two ingredients, both of which I consume on a daily basis!

And finally, don’t throw away the seeds once you’ve strained the gel from them. Put them into a reusable container (mine fit perfectly into a clean, store-bought hummus container) and freeze them to use again. So far, I’ve made two batches from the same flax seeds, simply pulling them out to thaw the night before I planned to make gel and using the old seeds in place of new ones in the recipe. I’ll be trying to make a third batch with the same seeds, and imagine the effectiveness will not be too diminished. However, since all you’ve done is boil the seeds you could also use them in baking, add them to granola, oatmeal or salads and still reap all the nutritional benefits of eating flax seeds. What a miracle!

 

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3 Responses to “Flax Seeds Two Ways”


  1. I am amazed by this! I love the idea of flaxseed hair gel! Nature…


  2. […] to watch what goes into my body as nutrients, but what I use to clean my house and myself. As the flax seed hair gel already posted about, this toothpaste is a simple way we not only take control of what goes into […]

  3. Curls & Q Says:

    Who knew? Love your blog! Also, can’t have my morning oatmeal without flax seed and coconut oil.


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