Have you ever tried soaking flax seeds? If not, know that something eerie transpires as soon as your back is turned: while the seeds swell and absorb the water, they release a gel-like substance (called mucilage) so that next time you look, your bowl is filled with a kind of jiggly aspic in which the seeds are suspended.
This little trick makes flax seeds (also called linseeds, or graines de lin in French) particularly popular with raw food practitioners, because that very goop acts as an efficient binding agent in all manner of uncooked preparations*.
And since I have temporary custody of a spiffy dehydrator, as you may remember from my raw buckwheat granola post, I’ve been using it to make regular batches of raw flax crackers.
The simple idea is this: you soak flax seeds so they’ll ooze out their mucilage, then combine them with other seeds, soaked** and drained, and the seasonings of your choice. This mixture is spread on a dehydrator tray and left to dry for a few hours, until you get — tadaa! — uncooked crackers, crisp and nutty, ready to be snacked upon alone or with your favorite dip.
I have played around with spices and flavorings, and I think I like smoked paprika (not raw, I imagine, but very good) or cumin best. But naturally, you could dream up a fennel seed or ras-el-hanout version, mix in a crushed garlic clove (just beware that the crackers will give off a very garlicky smell while they are dehydrating) or some fresh herbs, use soy sauce in place of the salt… whatever floats your cracker boat.
And if you don’t have a dehydrator, you can spread the mixture on parchment paper and use your oven at a very low setting (preferably around 45°C/110°F) or even, I am told, the energy of the sun, if the weather complies: it would take a few days, certainly, but you’d have yourself some pretty cool sun-dried crackers.
* And I can’t not mention that some people use flax seeds to make their own hair gel! Apparently it works wonders on very curly hair, not that I would know anything about that.
** The purpose of soaking grains, nuts and seeds is explained here.
- 160 grams (1 cup) flax seeds (a.k.a. linseeds), golden or brown
- 70 grams (1/2 cup) mixed seeds (I use sesame, sunflower and pumpkin), not toasted
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (hot or mild), or cumin seeds, or ground chili pepper, or the spice/spice mix of your choice
- The night before, put the flax seeds in a medium bowl and add 240 ml (1 cup) water. In another bowl, put the mixed seeds and add water to cover.
- In the morning, drain the mixed seeds well, and add them to the soaked and now gel-like flax seeds (these need no draining). Add the salt and paprika, and stir well with a fork to combine.
- Spread very thinly on one or two dehydrator trays lined with solid sheets. An offset spatula -- the kind you'd use to frost a cake -- makes the spreading easier. Sprinkle a touch more salt on the surface.
- Dehydrate at 45°C (110°F) for about 6 hours, until dry and crisp. About 3 hours into the dehydrating, flip the crackers so they will dehydrate evenly. Break into pieces once cooled.