Healthy Snacks

seed crackers

seed crackers: better than birdseed ::::
At 3:00 in the morning, I awoke to a litany of bird songs just outside my bedroom window. First flabbergasted at why these birds arose well before the sun did, I became even more confused as I listened to the songs repeat. Over and over. Loudly. In the same order. Again and AGAIN. It occurred to me this was perhaps an oddly lucid dream accented by my mumbling infant Grub. More likely, some overly-obsessed birder left a tape-lure to trigger in the wee hours of the morning, ruffling the Oregon Juncos and Anna’s Hummingbirds out of their slumbers to wonder what the heck was going on, just like me.

Whether tired, confused foodie humans or sleepy birds, we do not like to be awakened by such blather. The birds fluff their feathers (maybe some Angry Birds?), I nestle into my blankets. We fall back into the soft rill of sleep, dreaming of seeds. Seeds, lots and lots of seeds. Must. Eat. Seeds.

In these strange dreams, now possibly even more lucid than I had thought previously, it’s easier to eat like bird than a person. A vision of Clotilde from Chocolate and Zucchini’s fame appears. I am eating crackers. Seed crackers. Ah, yes….

Easily, I awake to a recipe search. In no time, like a spritely sparrow, her recipe for multiseed linseed (flax) crackers flits in front of me. These little gems are perfect for bird folk and bleary-eyed food bloggers alike. Or folk who like to eat like the birds. I doubt, however, birds think of the laxative features.

If you read anything health-related these days, it is likely that you’ve run across someone extolling the benefits of flax. It is high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and phytochemicals called lignans. What does all that mean? Laxative properties, reduction of total blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, possible reduced risk of heart disease, and really slimy seeds after a good soaking in water. The gelatinous nature of soaked flax is what gives these crackers body. Mucilagenous equals sticky and when dried, stuck together.

And surely, the birds who eat these must have great colons and healthy arteries. No wonder they’re never constipated. Except for chickens, maybe. Don’t they look like it to you? That’s what happens when you peck around and swallow rocks. That and a gizzard working overtime.

Back to our colons.  Although Clotilde calls these “raw,” I can’t use that terminology because I baked these crackers at 170 degrees F. Anything above 115 degrees F to most raw foodists is considered of less nutritional value, as certain enzymes have been lost, and certainly not raw anymore. (There are other definitions and variations, surely. You’ll find a multitude of opinions on the internet.)

Enjoy these without the din of birdsong and with hope of happy colons and arteries. Provide a few toothpicks for, ahem, deflaxing the teeth.
kind-of-raw seed crackers
Recipe type: healthy snack
  • 1 cup (160 grams) flax seeds, golden or brown
  • ½ cup (70 grams) mixed seeds (I used sesame, sunflower and pumpkin in equal parts, with a small handful of chia seeds), not toasted
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (or some other spice mix you prefer)
  1. The night before, put the flax seeds in a medium bowl and add 1 cup (240 ml) water. In another bowl, put the mixed seeds and add water to cover.
  2. In the morning, drain the mixed seeds well, and add them to the soaked and now thickly gelled flax seeds. Add the salt and spices, and stir well with a fork to combine.
  3. Spread very thinly on one or two silicon-lined baking sheets.* Clotilde recommends an offset spatula for easier spreading. Sprinkle more salt on the surface.
  4. Dehydrate at 170 degrees for about 3 hours, until dry and crisp. Break into pieces once cooled. Serve with cream cheese, hummus, or another favorite spread or dip (my romesco and cannellini bean dips are great). If you want to learn how to make these "raw proper" then refer to Clotilde's recipe.
* I tried foil -- big mistake. The cracker was totally gummed onto the surface and difficult to remove. Parchment paper may work here. Silicon mats are tried and true in my kitchen.


  • David May 20, 2011 Reply

    Tweet, tweet tweet. Mmmmm, tweet nom nom nom.

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