Having Sara, the Happy Foody, living right next to my house has been quite beneficial in a plethora of ways. One being how I get to try so many things before buying, and determine if they fit the parameters of our home (definition of "parameters": does the actual interest in consumption combined with the cost fit into our grocery budget?).
Along come chia seeds. Have read about them for years, but just hadn't stopped to purchase them and add them to my kitchen. Allow me to introduce you to these power-packed little gems, and take away the "What the heck do I do with them?" factor.
First, let me tell you WHY you should give chia a good, honest try.
I just discovered that chia is most abundant in southern Mexico, but that is the crop mainly used in actual chia pets. That's not so much what you're wanting to consume! A quality product you would want to put in your mouth can be found at Raw Food World (there is an icon on the right side of my blog).
Chia has deep historical roots going back to the Aztecs and Mayans.
It kicks some flax seed butt, by having more omega-3 fatty acids, longer shelf life before becoming rancid and they do not need to be ground to reap the most beneficial properties (Dr. Weil). I love me some flax seed, so it was hard to hear of another seed stealing its thunder, but they are finding a way to coexist in my pantry. Flax is a humble super food.
Two years ago, Dr. Oz was touting his pumpkin chia seed muffins on the Oprah show. They were looking at said muffins when he said, "Remember that broccoli I had before? [One of these muffins] has more magnesium than about 10 of those heads of broccoli, and it's got as much calcium in it as a couple cups of milk." Uh huh. Read that again.
I could go on and on for days, but I'll leave you with a mass of information from Chia for Health.
Now, let's get on to the fun part - eating!
When you combine chia seeds with water, they create a gel. That gel is power-packed with all of these many nutrients we have been discussing. The average mixture is 4 cups of water or juice with 2/3 cup of chia. I put mine in an old jar so I can shake it up. You can start diving into it within about 10 minutes, but most people suggest giving it 2-3 hours for the chia goodness to seep into the gel.
I keep this mixture in the fridge, where it will last for three weeks. Mine usually lasts about three DAYS! If your refrigerator gets a little too cold, and the seeds get a bit thicker (which mine did this morning), you get to call in all of your children while you make poop jokes as it departs the jar. (NOTE: chia gel is NOT black - the lighting here makes it look that way. Again - NOT black. I am not asking you to eat something that actually looks just like poo. Check out the above picture. THAT is what the gel looks like. Still, though ... funny pic - heh. heh.).
Now you can do pretty much whatever you want. It tastes like ... nothing. Really. The gel tastes like water if you make it with water. Tastes like juice if you make it with juice. Treat it like cereal. Top it with fruit, honey, other nuts and grains, straight oats. Your taste buds are the limit. I have added chia gel to smoothies. The other day I made a big green salad lathered in my favorite dressing, and threw some on top of that!
You can add the dry seeds to your dry cereals and homemade granola. I sprinkled them on some roasted root vegetables. Right now I'm still in the, "Why not?" phase of seeing what works for me and how much I can chia-up. Chia Fresca is next on my radar.
I have to be very picky about price, and chia seeds last. Goji berries do not meet that criteria, so we grind them and sprinkle (another frugal health food post for another day). The chia, though, passes the Christine Budget Crunch trial, in many areas. They store long, when added to liquid their mass increases, and it doesn't take much to be very, very filling. If you're lucky, you will start to grow grass out your ears.