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To The Grindstone

The New Year always offers an opportunity for a fresh start. Looking at the current eating trends it appears that folk are much more conscious of the connection between diet and health, as well as diet and the environment. Goods that could only be bought in health shops a few years ago are now all over the supermarkets. Do take time to source the best prices, and it’s not a bad idea to invest in a grinder, as lots of the products suitable for Banting and healthier eating cost a lot more when pre- ground. Good quality grinders are often available at very reasonable prices at the various charity shops – another good way to contribute positively to the trend of recycling. Here are some ideas of what to do with your ground up seeds.

Including sunflower, flax, chia, sesame and pumpkin seeds to your diet is very popular but watch the prices of those little prepacks! It makes more sense to buy each type of seed in bulk and make up your own mix. Kept in the freezer, seeds have a really good shelf life. Ground seed meal can be added to almost any dish, either sweet or savoury, and is more easily digested in that form. The meal is particularly excellent for elderly folk and for the very young.

Sunflower Seeds

Grind these up and package suitably to add a few tablespoons to porridge, cereals, muffin and cake mixes, or to sprinkle over salads and sandwiches. Dry roasting or toasting sunflower meal, then adding to bakes and casseroles increases flavour, improves texture and adds essential nutrients too.

Flax / Linseed

This little brown seed has a host of good qualities not the least of them being used by vegans and vegetarians as a replacement for eggs. Grind up the seeds and place the meal in an airtight jar. To make an egg substitute to use as a binding agent, mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit for between 15 and 30 minutes. Add to anything that needs binding or where the recipe calls for an egg. I find it particularly useful when binding beans and grains to make bean patties.

Chia Seeds

These magical little seeds form a wonderful jelly when soaked for a few hours. If you don’t like the little black seeds in your smoothies and parfaits then grind them up, add water and you will have a smooth jelly-like substance that keeps well in the fridge for a few days. I love to layer the jelly with fresh fruit, yoghurt or coconut cream, chopped nuts and top with grated black chocolate for a yummy but super healthy treat.

Make a Delicious Seed Sprinkle

Mix an equal quantity (2 cups is good) of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds together and place on a flat oven tray. Pop into a pre-heated oven (140 o C) and allow to toast, turning now and again until the sesame seeds are a pale golden colour and the seeds are crunchy. Let them cool right down then grind them until you have a mixed seed meal. Place in a bowl and add salt to taste. You can also add a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes - this makes the sprinkle delicious on steamed veggies and pasta dishes. If you like herbs, add ground, dried mixed herbs, or if you prefer a spicy seasoning, then cayenne pepper and smoked paprika make for a delicious taste. Freeze the bulk of the mix and make up a small jar to keep with your condiments and scatter liberally over salads, sandwiches and wraps, as well as grain and pulse dishes. Use as a topping for bakes and savoury muffins or add to savoury pancake mixes – in fact anything that needs a bit of a flavour lift.

Make your own Tahini

Tahini is sesame seed paste and is essential for hummus, as well as making a deliciously creamy salad dressing or a tasty dip. Toast 2 cups of sesame seeds in a cast-iron frying pan on low heat, stirring the seeds around for even toasting. When golden, remove from the heat and allow to cool right down. Place the seeds in your food processor and add 1/3 cup of blended olive oil and sunflower oil. Blend well, adding a little more oil if the mixture is too thick. Place the tahini in a glass jar and keep in the fridge. Easy peasy and way cheaper than the bought stuff!

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