Sent by SarahEditor: Sarah, it sounds like your flax seeds have probably gone rancid. Ground flax seeds and oil spoils very quickly. While the whole seeds do last longer, if they haven't been stored in the fridge, and if they are over a year old, they are probably not good to eat anymore. They shouldn't taste "off" at all — good flax seeds will taste nutty.
Readers, any other thoughts or answers for Sarah?
Related: Five Ways to Eat: Flax Seeds
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