To flax or not to flax?

I want to make a whole-grain pancake mix as a gift for a friend. The recipe I want to use calls for some ground flaxseed, and I really do think it lends great texture and taste to the finished product. I know that ground flax can go rancid when it's not refrigerated, but how long will it take before it goes off when mixed with other ingredients? Would I be better off leaving it out? Or could the mix, sealed in an airtight container, live in the fridge? It's a blend of gluten-free flours and starches, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and the ground flax. Which way would you go?



vvvanessa June 15, 2011
thank you so much for all the great (and quick!) answers! i think i'll use the flax, package it really well, and let my friend know she should keep the mix in the fridge or use it sooner than later. if anyone's interested, it's a really great recipe regardless of your gluten status, and i'd be happy to share the link to it. just message me!
susan G. June 15, 2011
Actually all whole grain flour is subject to rancidity, and ground nuts and seeds may be more so. Once the natural protective barriers, like the outer coat, have been breached, the oils are exposed to oxygen, and look for something to combine with... Like nomnivorous, I like to keep anything ground in cold storage. Her tag sounds perfect.
Emily H. June 15, 2011
Most celiacs and gluten free bakers I know keep some of their flours in the refrigerator or freezer for longer shelf life. I don't think asking someone to store the mix in the fridge would be a great inconvenience, so I say add the flax. You can always write on the label "Pantry safe, but for longer shelf life, store in refrigerator or freezer."
SKK June 15, 2011
I grind my own flaxseed and the put it in the freezer and have kept it up to 6 months with no problem. I agree with Syronai and if you have concerns, keep it in the fridge. It is an important ingredient, flaxseed. And your friend is lucky to have you for a friend!
boulangere June 15, 2011
I agree with Syronai. If you're concerned about it going off before she uses it, you might want to include a note about refrigerating it, using it up soon, etc. Other than that flax it up! And what a considerate gift, by the way.
drbabs June 15, 2011
I keep ground flax in my refrigerator for probably a lot longer than i should and I've never had a problem with it either.
beyondcelery June 15, 2011
I've given a lot of gluten-free mixes to friends, both with flax and without, and never given them any special instructions about refrigerating or not. The mixes aren't usually kept longer than a few weeks without being used up, but I've never heard any complaints about rancid-tasting ground flax in them. (Maybe my friends are too polite, but my mother would have mentioned it.) Anyway, I've kept ground flax in an airtight container for a good 2-3 weeks without a rancid taste becoming evident. I think you'd be fine including it.
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