How to Make Ground Flax (or, really, how NOT to)

This beautiful flax has been hanging in the garage for several months, in anticipation of when Jer-Bear and I would have some time to turn these lovely bunches into ground flax.

Flax 1

Finally, this past week, the whole crew was up at the cabin, enjoying some time together after the holidays.  And there was a day where we had some space in the day.  FLAX TIME!

We set to preparing ourselves... We read that the handy-dandy way to get the flax bulbs (balls?) off the stem is by using a pillow case.  You stick the flax bunch into the pillow case - and then work the bulbs off the stems... and they (theoretically) fall off the stems into the pillow case.  VOILA.  Sounds easy enough, yes?

Jer-Bear worked on it while we went sledding... and while we built a snow fort (awesome)... And then we worked together on it while Cath worked on dinner... and then we kept working on it.... and kept working on it... and KEPT WORKING ON IT.

And then we pulled the flax stems out of the pillow case, hoping to see in the bottom of the pillow case a lovely bunch of flax bulbs. Which there was. And we thought - ok!  Kind of time consuming, but we are sooo healthy and sooo garden-y and soooo homemade!  We got this!

Or not.  Because after you spend a considerable amount of time working the flax bulbs off the twigs, and desperately trying to dig the flax bulbs out of the bottom of the pillow case, you then have to - ONE BY FREAKING ONE - squish them between your fingers, extract the teeny-tiny little seeds out of the bulb, and then oh-so-very-carefully-so-as-not-to-lose-them (or so as not to get any non-flax into your flax pile), separate them into a excruciatingly slow-growing pile.

Flax 4

So, although we started writing this post about how to make ground flax, this has become a post on how NOT to make ground flax.  Ahem.

Wow.  After an hour of work and only a tablespoon of ground flax (perhaps, and I think I'm being generous) ... we decided that it is much more time-effective and totally worth it to BUY YOUR GROUND FLAX for cooking.  Just do it.  Trust us.  Don't bother with trying to harvest those buggers on your own.  Not worth it.

It was, as my husband so aptly put it, "miserable."

Suddenly, that seemingly expensive $7 bag of ground flax at the store seems like a STEAL, people.  A deal!  I mean, how are they getting away with only charging that much money!?!  It is so much work, and the people with the big machines to do this more effectively have got it figured out.

BUT!  BUT!  Jer-Bear wants me to remind you there are lots of good reasons to still plant flax, even if you never harvest it!  Here are just two of them:

1 - It's lovely.  It is really quite beautiful and adds variety to your garden.  Yes?

Flax 3 2.  It's a wonderful Companion Plant - as we wrote about in our post about Flax, Potatoes and Four O'Clocks.  In fact, Jer-Bear said he plans to plant twice the amount next year!

The moral of this story:

Plant flax!  Enjoy its loveliness!  But don't bother harvesting it.  Instead, turn to your local grocery store to enjoy this healthy little seed and all its benefits.

Flax 2

Does anyone else out there have any genius methods to harvest flax?   We would love to hear them!