Retting the Flax

It’s been a great summer, and I’ve gotten just a little behind on my writing about our flax science project. In July, the flax was hand pulled and put into beets. The beets were left to dry for a few days.

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When the flax was completely dry, we stored the flax beets inside our garden shed until we were ready to begin the retting process. One Sunday afternoon, we worked to remove the flax seeds, which will be a healthy addition to breads.

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After the seeds were removed, the flax beets were placed in a bin of water for about four to five days. (It’s true that the water and the flax become quite fragrant, and it’s not a good fragrance.)

With rubber gloves on, the flax is removed from the water and laid out to dry (holding your nose, of course).

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After a day of good sunshine, dried flax looks like this:

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Once nicely dried, a stalk can be taken in hand and easily bent to expose the lovely long flax fiber that eventually becomes linen.

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